In phone recording found after Hamas attack son tells parents he ‘killed Jews’

Click to play video: '‘I was struggling to breathe’: Ex-hostage describes being captured by Hamas'
‘I was struggling to breathe’: Ex-hostage describes being captured by Hamas
Jeff Semple reports – Oct 24, 2023

JERUSALEM — In an audio recording released by the Israeli military, a man who allegedly took part in the Oct. 7 attack phoned his parents to boast he had “killed Jews.”

The unidentified caller said he was using the phone of a Jewish woman he had killed, along with her husband and eight others, and that his parents should be proud of him.

“Your son killed Jews,” he said in the three-minute recording, which the Israeli military said was played for the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday.

“Mom, your son is a hero.”

The call is the latest clip of audio and video Israeli authorities have made public as the nation comes to terms with an attack that saw 1,400 killed and more than 200 taken prisoner.

Israel has responded by preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza and striking what it says are Hamas targets inside the enclave, resulting in close to 6,000 deaths, many of them children.

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Chief Supt. Gilad Behat of the Israel Police, at the forensic centre in Ramla, Israel, Oct. 24, 2023. Stewart Bell/Global News

By disclosing some of the terabytes of recordings collected since the incursion, the Israelis said they hoped to show the true nature of the enemy they face in Hamas.

With an unprecedented amount of body camera, security and phone recordings emerging, Israeli officials have been making their case by replaying the words and actions of Hamas members.

At a press screening of videos of the attack that were deemed too sensitive for public release, an Israeli army spokesperson said the “collected raw footage” was a way of understanding.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said a shift had taken place on Oct. 7 that Israel and the world were still coming to terms with and that there was value in bearing witness.

“It’s not just Israel’s problem,” he said.

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In one of the videos shown to foreign reporters, a man and two boys ran out of a home in their underwear and into a shelter, into which a Hamas attacker then threw a grenade.

Israeli authorities have been releasing some of the terabytes of audio and video they have collected since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. South First Responders

Their father dead, the boys returned to the house. One of them seemed to have an eye injury. A Hamas member came into the kitchen, casually opened the fridge and drank from a pop bottle.

Reporters were not permitted to disclose the locations of the videos, or to broadcast them, in order to protect the families of the victims in the footage.

Hamas gunmen were seen in other videos shooting civilians, opening fire on houses and vehicles, looting bodies, stealing cars, mutilating corpses and taunting wounded prisoners.

The Israelis also released videos of interrogations of captured Hamas members, in which they say their mission was to kill the men and take the women, children and elderly as prisoners.

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Forensic centre at Ramla, Israel, where victims of Oct. 7 Hamas attack are identified, Oct. 24, 2023. Stewart Bell/Global News

Meanwhile, reporters have been allowed into the Shura military base in Ramla, where almost 800 bodies collected since the attack have been taken to be identified.

Forensic investigators working at the site on Tuesday said they had seen victims who had been executed, decapitated, dismembered, shot and burned.

Click to play video: '‘I was struggling to breathe’: Ex-hostage describes being captured by Hamas'
‘I was struggling to breathe’: Ex-hostage describes being captured by Hamas

“I thought I saw everything,” said Chief Supt. Gilad Behat, a 27-year veteran of the Israel Police. “And from Oct. 7, I can’t sleep. I’m waking up and seeing the victims here, and I can’t understand. It’s horrible.”

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But the audio of the phone call home was especially impactful because of the glee expressed by the caller as he told his parents what he had done.

The Israeli Defense Force said the phone belonged to a murdered woman, and was found as troops regained control “of the communities hit by Hamas’ invasion and massacre.”

Stretchers at the forensic centre Ramla, Israel where victims of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack are identified, Oct. 24, 2023. Stewart Bell/Global News

A recording of the Arabic-language conversation was found on the device. In the translation released by the Israelis, the man said he was in Mefalsim, which came under intense attack.

“Hi dad, I’m talking to you from Mefalsim. Open my WhatsApp now and you’ll see all those killed. Look how many I killed with my own hands. Your son killed Jews,” according to the transcript.

“Dad, I’m talking to you from a Jewish woman’s phone. I killed her and her husband. I killed 10 with my own hands. Dad, 10 with my own hands. Dad open WhatsApp and see how many I killed.”

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“Oh my son, God bless you,” a woman’s voice responded.

“Come back, come back,” a man told the caller.

“What do you mean come back?” the caller said. “There is no going back. It’s either death or victory.”

CCTV video of Hamas attack on Kibbutz Melfasim, Israel, Oct. 7, 2023. South First Responders

Mefalsim is a kibbutz of about 1,000 people located just a few kilometres from the northern Gaza border. While it came under attack, locals fought off Hamas, and no residents died.

But Eli Levi, a member of the kibbutz security team, said Hamas killed many civilians in the surrounding area, some of whom were fleeing the massacre at a nearby music festival.

“A lot of people that were driving their cars and trying to run away from there got to our main gate. We could see them,” Levi said in an interview.

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Some hid in a shelter near the gate, and Hamas shot them and threw grenades inside, he said. Those who ran were shot and stabbed.

The alleged gunman who made the call may well have been one of the killers, Levi said.

“He may be correct, even not exaggerating,” Levi said.

He said the phone call did not surprise him.

“We saw what they did, we understand what we are facing.”

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