Israeli officer says he found baby beheaded in Hamas attack
KFAR AZA, Israel — A senior Israeli army officer said Friday that he had found the body of a decapitated baby in one of the kibbutz communities attacked by Hamas on October 7.
Colonel Golan Vach, head of the military search and rescue service, told AFP he saw the body of a mother protecting a baby while searching debris at the Beeri kibbutz three days after the attacks.
"When I pulled it over I saw a decapitated baby. I took it up with my hands and I carried it, and I put it in the body bag. I personally did it," he said while on a media tour of another kibbutz organised by the military.
Israel has said 1,400 people were killed and at least 229 taken hostage when Hamas militants attacked kibbutz commmunities, towns and military bases in southern Israel.
It has said many of the dead were women and children, killed in shocking ways, but it has given no figures.
Hamas has denied that its fighters killed infants during the cross-border raids.
The Hamas health ministry said Friday that 3,038 children were among 7,326 people killed in Israeli air raids on Gaza since October 7, in the buildup to a widely expected ground invasion. Israel and the United States have said they doubt the Hamas tolls.
Allegations that children were beheaded first emerged in Israeli media reports and were at first supported by Israeli officials, though spokesmen later said it could not be confirmed.
US President Joe Biden also mentioned the beheading of babies but his office later clarified that he had not seen any images.
No verified photographs or video footage of beheaded babies have emerged since the attacks.
Speaking on a tour of the Kfar Aza kibbutz, a community of 700 devastated in the attacks, the Israeli colonel told reporters he had been asked since making his gruesome discovery why there were no images.
"People ask me how come you did not take a picture. I said: ‘I’m sorry, I have children. I have limitations. I have limits. I do not take a picture of a decapitated baby," Vach said.
The colonel said a soldier had been "decapitated" at Kfar Aza. Military officials said it was not possible to say whether there were other cases of soldiers or civilians beheaded.