Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the assault, which began while Israel was observing a religious holiday that falls the day after the festival of Sukkot. The groups also launched more than 3,000 rockets, the Israel Defense Forces said. At least 250 people in Israel were killed and more than 1,000 wounded, the country’s emergency services said.
The videos verified by The Post showed scores of fighters breaching the border with little opposition, armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. They poured into Israel on the ground, flew in with fan-driven paragliders and used commercial drones to attack Israeli military targets, including tanks and communications infrastructure.
One video shows fighters from Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, using explosives against a section of border wall near the Erez crossing, the only one available for Gazans to travel into Israel, located at the northern end of the Gaza Strip. The video shows at least seven gunmen running toward the crossing, moving through a security checkpoint and firing at a guard tower.
A fighter shoots a bloodied body on the ground in a hallway as he catches up with a group of other militants, who appear to be capturing two men clothed in only shorts and T-shirts. Later in the video, as the fighters clear hallways and living quarters, several other bodies can be seen on the ground.
Another video shows fighters on foot and motorcycles passing through an opening made in the border fence near Kerem Shalom, a kibbutz on Israel’s southern border with Egypt near a major border crossing of the same name. The video then cuts to the fighters storming a military outpost about three miles to the north. Israeli military vehicles including armored personnel carriers and a tank can be seen, as well as the bodies of several Israeli soldiers, including one wearing only boxer briefs, a helmet and a tactical vest.
In one room containing bunk beds, the video shows the bodies of several men, some in military fatigues and others in shorts and T-shirts, including one still lying in bed.
Four other videos show fighters breaching the border fence in two locations near the towns of Nahal Oz and Be’eri. In Be’eri, nearly three miles from the Gaza Strip border, other videos, including one posted on X (formerly Twitter) showed armed men in military garb dragging at least five people away. Two appear older and thinly dressed, and all are barefoot, with their hands tied behind them.
Israeli and Hamas officials both confirmed that Israeli military personnel and civilians were taken captive, though the total number and their condition is unknown. A spokesperson for Hamas’s armed wing said there were “tens” of soldiers and officers in the group’s custody, a Reuters journalist in Gaza reported. The Israeli Embassy in the United States posted on X that there were 100 “kidnapped civilians and soldiers.”
In Nahal Oz, fighters stormed a military base and used a drone to drop an explosive on Israeli soldiers standing near an ambulance. Other footage released by Hamas showed its fighters taking female prisoners at the base.
Fighters also destroyed and captured Israeli military vehicles, some of which were driven back into Gaza. The Post verified footage taken several miles inside northern Gaza showing Palestinians celebrating near an Israeli jeep.
Fighters also managed to reach Sderot, a town of about 30,000 people, where images showed more than a half dozen civilians bloodied and slumped around a bus stop in the city and there were videos of armed men in a pickup truck firing at an Israeli police vehicle.
The Saturday assault took place under the cover of a large rocket barrage that began around 6:30 a.m. and was aimed at cities across Israel. The Post verified footage taken in the aftermath of several reported strikes, including in Tel Aviv and the southern city of Netivot. A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said that the “overwhelming majority” of Israeli casualties resulted from close-contact shooting.
Palestinian health authorities said at least 313 people in the Gaza Strip had been killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes, along with nearly 2,000 injured.
Gaza was plunged into darkness on Saturday evening after Israel cut off its electricity and launched waves of airstrikes into the enclave. The Israeli air force hit what it described as 17 military compounds and four operational command centers belonging to Hamas. Footage taken on Saturday showed the destruction of a 14-story residential building in Gaza City known as the Palestine Tower.
Overnight, airstrikes continued to pound the territory.
Imogen Piper in London and Bryan Pietsch in Washington contributed to this report.