Video has emerged of a 10-year-old boy being kidnapped from his homeland by Hamas terrorists as they launched their attack against Israel over the weekend.
The disturbing footage shows the youngster being dragged towards an opening in border fence between Gaza and Israel by the gunmen, who kidnapped around 150 people in their surprise offensive launched on Saturday morning.
Erez Kalderon, who was taken from his home in Nir Oz in the south of Israel by Hamas, looks terrified as he is led through the streets by the heavily armed men.
His father Offer and sister Sahar, 16, were also abducted in Hamas’s unprecedented ground, air and sea assault that has left Israel reeling.
The chaotic footage, posted on social media, shows the young boy being held by the arms by a much larger man who is accompanied by another holding a rifle.
Video has emerged of a 10-year-old boy being snatched at gunpoint from his home by Hamas terrorists as they launched their attack on Israel over the weekend
One of the rifle-wielding man’s hands appears to be covered in blood.
Other fighters are seen moving up and down the road, including one who drives past the group dragging Erez on the back of a motorbike.
A barbed-wire-lined fence, presumed to be the Gaza-Israeli border fence, can be seen in the background, as can smoke rising into the sky in the distance.
A man, who is not identified in the video clip, is heard pleading with the gunmen dragging him down the road, saying: ‘Don’t harm them, these are young, leave them, this one’s a young boy maybe only 10 years old’.
It was not clear from the footage whether this was one of the kidnappers saying they should leave the young Israeli alone, another Israeli who had been kidnapped pleading with his captors in Arabic, or another bystander entirely.
The footage cuts off before the youngster is seen being taken into Gaza.
Erez’s family have since spoken about his abduction, saying that he, his father and sister were hiding on Saturday morning and have not been heard from since.
‘Yesterday at 8.30am messages were sent from them that the terrorists are outside their house… and they are hiding,’ a message from a relative, which was circulated online, said. ‘Since then their voices have not been heard.’
Erez’s sister Gaya Kalderon, 21, who lives in Tel Aviv, told Sky News: ‘Everything I have in my life – my family – is missing. I’m terrified from the photographs and can’t believe my eyes. It feels like a horror movie that would never come true. But it did.’
Erez Kalderon, who was snatched from his home in Nir Oz in the south of Israel by Hamas, looks terrified as he is led through the streets by the heavily armed men
The war began after Hamas terrorists stormed into Israel on Saturday, bringing gunbattles to its streets for the first time in decades.
At least 1,600 lives have already been claimed on both sides, and perhaps hundreds more, with Israel saying on Tuesday its death toll had risen passed 1,000, although seperate reports suggested the total toll could be much higher.
In Gaza and the West Bank, 704 people have been killed, according to authorities there; Israel says hundreds of Hamas fighters are among them. Thousands have been wounded on both sides.
The bodies of roughly 1,500 Hamas fighters were found on Israeli territory, the military said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether those numbers overlapped with deaths previously reported by Palestinian authorities.
Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza currently hold more than 150 soldiers and civilians hostage, according to Israel, with Hamas threatening to execute hostages if the Israeli Defence Forces strike targets in Gaza without warning.
The conflict is only expected to escalate. Israel expanded the mobilisation of reservists to 360,000 on Tuesday, according to the country’s media.
After days of fighting, Israel’s military said Tuesday morning that it had regained effective control over areas Hamas attacked in its south, and of the Gaza border.
A looming question is whether Israel will launch a ground offensive into Gaza – a 25 mile-long strip of land wedged among Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea that is home to 2.3 million people and has been governed by Hamas since 2007.
The Israeli military said it struck hundreds of targets overnight in Gaza City’s Rimal neighbourhood, an upscale district that is home to ministries of the Hamas-run government, as well as universities, media organisations and aid organisations.
After hours of nonstop attacks, residents left their homes at daybreak to find buildings torn in half by airstrikes or reduced to mounds of concrete and rebar.
Cars were flattened and trees burned out on residential streets that had been transformed into moonscapes.
The devastation signaled what appeared to be a new Israeli tactic: warning civilians to leave certain areas and then hitting those areas with unprecedented intensity.
Palestinians rush through a cap after taking down the fence on the Israel-Gaza border and enter Israel after clashes and attacks in Gaza City, Gaza on October 7
Smoke is seen rising near the border fence between Gaza and Israel on October 7
The bombardments and Israel’s threats to topple Hamas sharpened questions about the group’s strategy and objectives.
But it is unclear what options it has in the face of the ferocity of Israel’s retaliation and the potential of losing much of its government infrastructure.
Hours after Saturday’s incursion began, a senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri said the group had planned for all possibilities, including ‘all-out war,’ and was ready to suffer ‘severe blows.’
Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, Hamas’ armed wing spokesman Abu Ubaida told residents of Israel’s port of Ashkelon to leave the area by 5pm on Tuesday, without giving any further details, in an ominous warning to its residents.
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