Hamas smuggled bullets used in the Oct 7 massacre into Gaza in food bags designed for humanitarian aid, the Israeli military has claimed.
Investigators found up to 50 rice sacks in the aftermath of the slaughter, which they say served as ammunition pouches for weapons such as AK47s, Dragunov sniper rifles and MPK machine guns.
During a display of the “military-level” equipment recovered after the attack, Israeli officials told The Telegraph the sacks pointed to a “smuggle path via humanitarian aid”.
Lt Col Idan Sharon-Kettler, deputy commander of the enemy equipment retrieval unit, said it was implausible that the 1kg rice sacks were recycled for terrorist use having first been used legitimately to bring in food.
“These are not efficient ammunition pouches – it is not easy to take bullets out, and some of the bullets need to be used in a chain, so it takes time to put them in,” he said.
“Other than smuggling, there is no good reason to hold the bullets in these bags. Instead of helping the population, this is how the ammunition was brought inside Gaza.”
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and intelligence agencies were stunned by the scale and effectiveness of the early morning attack from Gaza, which saw hundreds of well-armed terrorists stream across the border, despite the territory having been under strict blockade for 17 years.
Israel has previously claimed that Hamas uses shipments of humanitarian aid to bring weaponry into Gaza.
On Monday, in a quiet corner of the sprawling military base at Tzrifin, outside Tel Aviv, a sample of the arsenal of weapons and equipment recovered from devastated towns and kibbutzim near Gaza were put on display.
These included dozens of AK47s of virtually every variation ever designed, many originating from the former Soviet Union, but also from China and other countries.
Some were rusting, having been fire-damaged in battles with IDF troops. Others were marked with blood stains.
Munitions ‘capable of 3,000C temperatures’
But there were also far more sophisticated – and lethal – weapons, including mines, mortars, heavy machine guns and rockets.
Lt Col Sharon-Kettler was at pains to highlight the “thermobaric” munitions, both in the form of a special rocket to be fired from a rocket launcher, and a bespoke large grenade manufactured in Gaza.
This is because, he claimed, they were the weapons used to burn entire families to death as they sheltered in their homes and panic rooms.
He said these were not for any lack of more mainstream fragmentation rounds, many of which were also found, but because the terrorists wanted to burn their victims alive.
“That is why you use thermobarics”, he told The Telegraph. “They were brought over the border to throw into rooms where people were hiding.
“In Nahal Oz, in Be’eri and other places, this is how people died. It brings them to 3,000C.”
Weapons ‘came from Iran’
Also on display was an array of anti-armour weapons, capable of crippling Israel’s main battle tank, but, again, said to have been used against civilians instead.
The “sacrifice” devices were used against cars of people trying to flee the massacre at the Nova music festival, some of whom burnt to death in their vehicles as a result.
Also displayed was an array of TNT explosives which the IDF said originated in Iran, as did the numerous 66mm mortar shells.
The only artefact in the display that was recovered from Gaza, rather than the scene of the massacre, was a gutted unmanned aerial vehicle, with a wingspan slightly bigger than that of a grown man.
This was because those used in the attack either blew up after hitting IDF bases, or were subsequently destroyed to make them safe.
Israel said its operation in the Gaza Strip aimed to rid the territory of Hamas and destroy the terror group’s infrastructure.
However, the civilian population is paying a huge price, with thousands of innocents killed, including more than 4,100 children, according to the UN, NGOs, and the Hamas-controlled authorities in the strip.
Israel has accused Iran of supporting Hamas in preparing for the attack.
“What we can see is this is military equipment, full scale military equipment,” said Lt Col Sharon-Kettler.
“This is not something that has been cooked in someone’s backyard. This is years-long planning, a lot of funding, huge money.
“There is military-grade intelligence put into the effort here to attack the military compounds, to reach the cities, the Kibbutzim and in the end to massacre Israeli civilians. These were who came specifically to kill families inside their own houses.”