THE SOLDIER crouched behind sandbags in a machine gun nest was tense as he trained his weapon towards smoking buildings a few hundreds yards away.
Beneath his elevated position was a gaping hole in the 10ft fence where terrorists poured in to kill and kidnap a quarter of this once idyllic farming community.
Doug SeeburgSun man Nick Parker at one of the ransacked and burnt homes in the Nir Oz Kibbutz[/caption]
Doug SeeburgHamas burned families alive after storming the kibbutz[/caption]
Doug SeeburgThe smashed fence where the terrorist entered the kibbutz less than a mile from the Gaza border[/caption]
Doug SeeburgIDF soldiers patrolling the border area[/caption]
Doug SeeburgThe terror group swarmed people’s homes in the kibbutz before slaughtering a quarter of the village[/caption]
This was the village of Nir Oz today – the closest kibbutz community to the Hamas stronghold of Gaza.
And a Sun team escorted in by Israeli troops learned of yet more atrocities committed by the savage who triggered the Israeli crisis – and a horrifying new terror tactic.
The kibbutz centre is just a mile from the fortified border wall surrounding the 25-mile-long coastal strip and its farmland comes to within 180 yards.
And its proximity made it easy to frogmarch hostages across open ground back to the terrorists’s lair as it became the kidnap capital of the October 7 attacks.
Kibbutz community leader Ron Bahat, 57, walked myself and photographer Doug Seeburg through the mayhem to the closest accessible point to Gaza yesterday.
The tired and traumatised survivor said as Israeli airstrikes hammered the besieged enclave in the distance: “We lost a quarter of our people.
“They killed 25 but between 80 and 100 are still missing presumed kidnapped.
“Nir Oz was beautiful – you can see it was a wonderful, well-tended place – the greenest place to live you can imagine.
“But they came to kill and kidnap and burn – and it’s now a ghost town.”
Ron told us Hamas savages employed a tactic of deliberately burning desperate families out of their homes after they took refuge in panic rooms.
He managed to save his family by desperately holding the door shut in his home’s steel-encased room – and cowered in terror for more than eight hours before help arrived.
It comes as
Israel continues to prepare for a possible full-scale invasion of Gaza after the October 7 massacre by HamasJoe Biden arrived in Israel yesterday and pledged his support for them against terror group HamasUS intelligence believe an explosion at a Gazan hospital that allegedly killed hundreds was caused by terroristsFury is growing over the spread of Hamas “propaganda” in the West after Israel was wrongly accused of the blastAtrocities are still being discovered – including a massacre scene at a nursery in Kibbutz Be’eriFears are growing the conflict could spiral into a large regional war drawing in Iran and Hezbollah7 Brits have been killed and 9 are feared to being held as hostages in Gaza
Less lucky locals or those unable to hold their doors shut had their homes torched until they fled the flames – into the deadly embrace of the murderous thugs.
Those too old or infirm to walk the short distance back to Gaza were executed on the spot – while others burned alive in their homes rather than face the monsters.
Ron said: “The tactic here was definitely to burn us out of our homes and kidnap and kill as many of us as possible.
“They murdered families without hesitation and robbed us as they went from house-to-house.
Doug SeeburgBurnt cars near the fence after Hamas fighters stormed the kibbutz[/caption]
Doug SeeburgNick Parker at the fence where the terrorists smashed their way in[/caption]
Doug SeeburgCharred remains of people’s homes after they were burned down by the terror group[/caption]
“There are probably more than 100 homes here and only four we not entered – and most were burned.
“They have no humanity and do not deserve to live – they are worse than ISIS.”
Ron walked us through the blackened shell of the home of his neighbour Bracha Levinson – who met an awful fate shared by 25 kibbutz villagers here.
A cooker was the only recognisable item inside the touched shell of the building which Bracha eventually fled before being cut down by Hamas bullets.
Kibbutz elder Adina Moshe, 75, was among those confirmed to have been kidnapped after being smoked out of her shelter nearby.
Another woman from the close-knit community of only around 400 people – named as Carmela Dan – and her elderly mother was also initially thought to have been kidnapped.
But the traumatised pair either died from their wounds or burns or were executed on the route towards Gaza.
Tension remained high here today as soldiers constantly scoured the fields through telescopes amid reports that “dozens” of Hamas killers remain active in Israel.
Several have been found hiding out in fields in recent days having stayed to harass terrified locals – while others have continued to sneak into Israeli territory using tunnels.
Huge booms filled the air every few moments as Israeli warplanes and artillery attacked – sending black plumes of smoke a short distance away over a patchwork of fields.
The machine gunner with his his eyes on the Hamas stronghold yesterday as we asked if he had seen activity.
His eyes remained glued to the powerful scope he was using to identify possible targets as he shouted back: “I can’t talk – I need to focus.”
Just a few days ago, Nir Oz was a carefully crafted idyll where neighbours lived a happy communal lifestyle as they tended the land.
One garden – next to the spot where the kibbutz fence was breached – had its own hippy sculpture garden now littered with bullet casings and debris.
Dreamers and idealists who believed it was possible to live in peace and overcome centuries of entrenched hate came to live here.
But those dreams turned into a nightmare as dawn broke on October 7 as the terrorists turned this haven of hope into hell.
Recounting his own fight for survival, community leader Ron said: “I fought them as hard as I could and used rope to hold shut the door of my safe room.
“It was enough to save me and my family and they did not shoot at my door and we survived – were are blessed and we are lucky.
“But this place will never be the same again – we can see the place they came from and there is always fear they will come again.
“We loved our lives here – but they have taken everything including one in four of our people.”
Nir’s Oz’s kidnap victims were among around 200 believed to be at the mercy of Hamas kidnappers as air strikes continued to hammer Gaza yesterday.
Doug SeeburgThe Sun’s reporter stands next to a row of burnt cars near the security fence[/caption]
Doug SeeburgNir’s Oz’s kidnap victims were among around 200 held hostage by Hamas[/caption]
Doug SeeburgHamas fighters killed 25 people in the kibbutz[/caption]Leave a comment