Israel’s armed forces have released dramatic footage of the moment elite troops regained control of a checkpoint overrun by Hamas and freed 250 hostages.
Video from body cameras worn by members of the elite Flotilla 13 unit was released Thursday evening. The naval commando unit – the equivalent of the US Navy SEALS – specializes in the fight against terrorism.
Bodies are seen on the floor of a dark room. It is not known whether they were hostages or terrorists.
In another room, a group of people are seen standing as the troops enter – presumably hostages.
“Shayetet, Shayetet, stay in the bunker, we’re coming,” one of the officers shouts, using the Hebrew name for their unit. The identity and nationality of those rescued have not been revealed, with around 20 kidnapped Americans still missing.
Hours after the remarkable footage was released, the Israeli military ordered residents of Gaza City to evacuate “for their own safety and protection” in anticipation of an expected Israeli ground offensive.
The announcement followed a UN spokesperson’s claim that the army had ordered an evacuation of all of northern Gaza, a region home to 1.1 million people – about half of the population of the territory – in 24 hours. The UN claims it is “impossible”.
Members of Israel’s elite Flotilla 13 unit were seen Saturday retaking a checkpoint near the Gaza border from Hamas.
Flotilla 13 is the equivalent of the US Navy SEALS, and they were immediately dispatched to the site of Saturday’s attack.
Elite commandos are seen in body camera footage going door to door
During Saturday’s assault on the Sufa checkpoint along the southern border with Gaza, towards the Egyptian border, troops can be seen going door to door, chasing terrorists from the compound and face fierce resistance.
Shell casings fly as troops from Flotilla 13 engage the terrorists in gun battles.
The Israelis are shown throwing grenades into rooms to flush out the Hamas attackers.
The Israeli military said it had killed 60 Hamas terrorists and arrested 26, including Muhammad Abu A’ali, deputy commander of Hamas’ southern naval division.
A man, who appeared naked, with blood on his back and shoulders, is seen being brought in and handcuffed.
Israeli forces seen arresting man who had been stripped and bloodied
IDF forces are seen entering a dark room inside the checkpoint complex.
The IDF are seen inside the dark rooms, likely bunkers below the checkpoint.
The elite commandos move piece by piece within the compound.
Other hostages captured at a nearby music festival and in kibbutzim and villages near Gaza were brought back to Gaza to be used as human shields.
Their whereabouts are unknown, but it is likely they are being held in tunnels beneath the land and moved frequently to prevent rescue efforts.
Joe Biden insisted on Wednesday that the United States was doing everything possible to save the hostages.
He called Hamas’ attack on Israel “the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust” and a campaign of “pure cruelty,” adding once again that the United States stood with Israel.
The death toll now stands at 1,200 in Israel, including 27 Americans, and another 1,500 in Gaza.
Hamas has reportedly taken 150 hostages, including Americans, and is threatening to execute them if Israel launches a ground invasion of Gaza.
Biden said the United States was working feverishly to try to secure the release of the hostages.
“We are working on all aspects of the hostage crisis in Israel, including deploying experts to advise and assist in recovery efforts,” he said.
“Now the press will be screaming at me: What are you doing to bring these people home? If I told you, I wouldn’t be able to take them home.
“My friends, we do many things, we do many things.
“I haven’t given up hope of bringing these people home.
“But the idea that I’m going to stand here in front of you and tell you what I do is weird. So, I hope you understand how weird I think it would be to try to answer that question.
A house is completely destroyed after being set on fire by Hamas terrorists during the attack on Kibbutz Beeri, near the border with Gaza, on October 11, 2023 in Beeri, Israel
Soldiers from the IDF’s Lotar unit are slowly taking control of the Kfar Aza kibbutz, moving from house to house to clear them of any munitions or threats. This is where Hamas terrorists massacred families in their homes
An Israeli army source provided a photograph of a child’s blood-soaked bed in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in southern Israel following a Hamas-led attack on the house.
An Israeli soldier bursts into tears at the sight of a family dining table still containing Challah bread from Friday’s Kiddush at Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Hamas terrorists massacred families here on Saturday
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, was asked at an earlier press briefing whether the administration was in direct or indirect contact with Hamas to secure their release, and whether he could describe their condition.
“Now where they are and what condition, no,” Kirby said.
He said the White House does not know whether they stay together and whether they are moved.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know. And that makes the effort very, very difficult.
He also told ABC White House correspondent MaryAlice Parks that he “was not aware of any specific evidence of the life of any individual hostage.”
Kirby added that the United States is in discussions with countries that have lines of communication with Hamas, such as Qatar, to discuss the release of the hostages. Several former senior Hamas leaders live in Qatar.