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"THE ROCKET THREW ME INTO THE AIR"
Eyewitness account of a soldier who survived the impact of a Hamas rocket
I went to a hospital in central Israel. I spoke with a soldier who was the first to arrive at Kfar Aza during the massacre committed by Hamas. In a community of 750 people - 60 were murdered and 17 civilians have been taken hostage in Gaza. As the war is still ongoing, the interviewee is referred to as Soldier H so as to protect his identity. His face is badly scarred on both cheeks after he was hit by an explosion from an RPG. His bandaged hand still doesn’t work properly a month later. Below are notes from our conversation
Soldier H woke on the morning of October 7th. He was on his base with his team. He received a rocket alert on his phone. He woke up his soldiers. He then saw the viral video of Hamas terrorists travelling into Israel by car and shouting Allahu Akbar.
It was 6.54am
He told his men to be ready and they loaded their vehicles.
He called his commander and asked “What shall we do?”
Without a specific command being given, Soldier H and his men drove towards the trouble so they would be nearer and ready to help. They were sixteen soldiers in four vehicles.
As they got closer they saw dead bodies and burned cars by the side of the road.
Hamas had also blocked the road with cars. The intention was to prevent help reaching the civilians being massacred.
Soldier H and his men were then ambushed. They were shot at by terrorists. This was another tactic to slow down the IDF’s ability to reach the kibbutzim. The purpose was to give terrorists in the kibbutz maximum time to kill civilians and to torture them.
Knowing that civilians needed their help - Soldier H and his men decided not to return fire to the terrorists. They chose to accept the bullets being fired at them and move onwards to the kibbutz.
If these terrorists had been in possession of RPGs - Soldier H and his men would have been destroyed in their vehicles - which aren’t designed to withstand rockets.
Continuing onwards, they were getting close to Kfar Aza.
They arrived at the kibbutz.
They saw civilian dead bodies mingled among some IDF bodies.
He saw three dead soldiers.
He saw a mother shot in the head
He saw her child shot in the head
He saw her other child shot in the head
He saw a baby in it’s pram
The baby was shot in the head
There were bodies everywhere
A dead naked woman
Five children - each shot with one bullet in the head
It had been a scene of mass executions
Women, children and babies all shot in their head
Neither he nor his men had ever trained for anything like what they saw
It was a new world
The murder was organised and sophisticated
He had never seen imagery like this since the Holocaust
Seeing the soldiers arrive, Hamas started executing remaining civilians as quickly as they could and took defensive positions
Soldier H and his men started receiving fire
Soldier H knew that the numbers were not in their favour. They were only 16 soldiers. The terrorists numbered 100 to 150.
He knew they had to respond in such a way that the terrorists believed a big army had arrived.
So Soldier H and his men ran towards the danger and took position inside one of the homes
They could see in each others eyes that they all understood they were in a grim situation.
The terrorists had RPG’s, grenades, explosives and heavy machine guns. Soldier H and his men had their personal weapons and a few grenades.
None the less, whilst receiving fire, they went from home to home. They shouted in each house to warn any civilians that might be hiding in their safe room to remain locked inside.
Outside one of these civilian homes they were ambushed by Hamas. Two men were shot and died.
It had been 30 minutes of fighting so far
Two more soldiers were shot and wounded and fell onto their dead comrades.
The remaining soldiers dragged them inside a house
Meanwhile, the drivers who brought the soldiers to the kibbutz had remained with the vehicles
Two of the drivers now drove towards the battle scene to try and evacuate the dead and the wounded
Whilst this attempted evacuation was taking place, Soldier H saw a man in an IDF uniform standing a short way off
Soldier H was aware it could be a trick and that this might be a terrorist in an IDF uniform
The man in the uniform waved at Soldier H
Soldier H made a decision in his heart that he couldn’t risk firing at an IDF soldier, even if it was possibly a trick
The man waved at Soldier H and then produced a rocket launcher which he fired at Soldier H
It landed in front of Soldier H and the impact threw him into the air and backwards
Shrapnel and debris went into his face, hands, stomach and pelvis.
Blood was everywhere
One of his men dragged him into a home and tried to tend to his injuries
He was dazed and tried not to yell from the pain. As their leader he had to be cool to keep them motivated.
The vehicles that had come to evacuate the dead and wounded now had to pull back
The vehicles were too important to risk being destroyed
During the battle, other than warning people to stay in safe rooms, there were no civilians the soldiers could save
There were no wounded
There were only dead
Everyone and every form of life had been killed
Mothers, grandparents, children, babies, animals
Hamas had burned their homes
There were naked women dead in gardens
There were no naked men
Only naked women
He saw a beheaded corpse
At the entrance to one home there was a mother lying face down
She had been shot in the back of the head
There was a dead child hugging her
The child was also shot in the head
The child had been shot second, hugging its mother after she had fallen to the ground
Eventually, other IDF units arrived
With their help, Soldier H and his men were evacuated
Solider H says what he saw will be with him his whole life.
He says Jews can forget that there are people who want to kill us simply because we’re Jews.
Hamas came to torture civilians.
To rape women.
To steal from the dead.
They came to terrorise.
He says the world must know this isn’t Israel vs Hamas. It’s a war between people who value life and those who don’t stand for any civilised values.
Whatever they call themselves: Boko Haram, Hamas, ISIS, Al Qaeda - they all have the same radical Islamic beliefs and have the same goals.
I asked if he has a language for what he saw?
He said it’s a different language from what he knows.
In Israel you’re taught fairytales when you’re a child.
In Gaza they aren’t taught things appropriate for children.
They’re educated to murder Jews
To hate Jews
To be violent.
They are raised this way and it leads to the things he saw in the kibbutz.
Soldier H has currently had two surgeries and is still working on movement in his arm.
He estimates it will be six months before he is rehabilitated
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