The Horrific Aftermath of the Hamas Attack on Be’eri: A Symbol of the War with Hamas
Trudging down a cul-de-sac turned to rubble, an Israeli army commander stopped in front of one scorched home, its front wall blown wide open. Look at what Hamas militants have done, he said, to this close-knit community that only days ago brimmed with life.
A Massacre and Pogrom
“Children in the same room and someone came and killed them all. Fifteen girls and teenagers, they put (them) in the same room, threw in a hand grenade and it’s over,” Major Gen. Itai Veruv said. “This is a massacre. It’s a pogrom,” he said, recalling the brutal attacks on Jews in Eastern Europe in the 19th and early 20th century.
Be’eri: A Symbol of the War
The Israeli military led a group of journalists, including an Associated Press reporter, on a tour of Be’eri, a village a few miles from Israel’s fortified border with Gaza. This village was recently retaken from militants after an extended battle. Before Israeli forces prevailed, the attackers killed more than 100 residents, Israeli officials said.
Be’eri, a settlement of a little more than 1,000 people, is one of more than 20 towns and villages ambushed early Saturday as part of a sweeping assault launched from the embattled Palestinian enclave. Before the attack, Be’eri was known for its industriousness, including a large printing plant that turns out Israeli driver’s licenses. Now it has become a horrific symbol of the war with Hamas.
The Tactics of Hamas
Veruv, who had retired from the military until he was recalled Saturday to lead forces fighting to regain control of towns that were attacked, said Hamas fighters had taken up entrenched positions in the ruins, hiding in small groups before surprising Israeli soldiers as they went from house to house. “Every time that we thought we cleaned the area and everything was silent, suddenly another 12 or another 20 got out,” he said.
Standing in front of the two-story stucco home where he said militants killed teenagers with a grenade, he said soldiers had found the bodies of other residents with their wrists tied together. During the short visit, a reporter saw gaping holes smashed in the side of some homes and torched cars. Framed family photos lay amid the ruins, along with a children’s backpack.
Outside, items brought by the militants hinted at meticulous preparation. Prayer rugs and extra shoes lay scattered on the ground, not far from a toothbrush, containers full of medicine, and rifle magazines. A pair of Toyota pickups, one with a machine gun mount in the bed, also remain.
The Lingering Odor of Death
By the time reporters were brought in a little before sunset Wednesday, rescue crews had removed the bodies of most of the residents who were killed. But the corpses of several militants remained, and the odor of death was overpowering.
A Call for Retribution
“We will hit Gaza. We will hit Hamas. And we will destroy,” Veruv said.
The attack on Be’eri by Hamas militants has left this once-thriving community devastated. The brutal massacre of innocent children and teenagers has shocked the world and drawn attention to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The tactics employed by Hamas fighters, hiding in small groups and surprising Israeli soldiers, have made it difficult for the military to regain control of the attacked towns and villages.
Be’eri now stands as a symbol of the war with Hamas, a reminder of the destruction and loss caused by this militant group. The meticulous preparation evident in the items left behind by the militants highlights the calculated nature of their attacks.
As the Israeli military vows to retaliate and destroy Hamas, the residents of Be’eri and other affected communities mourn their losses and attempt to rebuild their lives amidst the ruins. The international community watches closely, hoping for a resolution to the conflict and an end to the senseless violence.