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HOW HAMAS CARRIED OUT THEIR LIGHTNING ASSAULT ON ISRAEL NO ONE THOUGHT POSSIBLE

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Militants advance towards the Israeli border from southern Gaza

Many Israelis would have been asleep when it began.

Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath and also a holy festival day, meaning families were planning to spend time at home together or in the synagogue, and friends were meeting up.

But out of the dawn sky, a hail of rockets signalled the start of an attack that was unprecedented in its scale and co-ordination.

For years, Israel has fortified the barrier between itself and the small Palestinian enclave of Gaza. Within hours, its impenetrability was exposed as flawed.

BBC News has been analyzing footage taken by militants and civilians on the ground to piece together how Hamas co-ordinated their most sophisticated attack ever from Gaza.

Rockets signal start of attack

At around 06:30 local time, the rockets began to fly.

The Islamist militant organization – which controls Gaza and is designated as a terrorist group in the UK and elsewhere around the world – uses this tactic frequently.

The rudimentary rockets often struggle to evade Israel’s advanced Iron Dome missile defence system – but thousands were fired in a short space of time to overwhelm it.

The scale suggests months of planning and stockpiling. Hamas says it fired 5,000 in the first round (Israel says it was half that number).

A rocket over Gaza
A rocket is fired from Gaza in the early hours of Saturday morning

Air raid sirens began to sound as far afield as Tel Aviv – 60km (38 miles) from Gaza – and western Jerusalem and smoke was seen rising above towns where there had been direct hits.

As the rockets continued to launch, fighters were gathering where they planned to penetrate the heavily fortified Gaza barrier.

Although Israel pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005, it still controls its airspace, shared border, and shoreline.

As well as regular military patrols around the perimeter – which is a concrete wall in some places and a fence in others – there is also a network of cameras and sensors to prevent incursions.

But within hours, the barrier had been breached again and again.

Map showing where Hamas fighters crossed from Gaza

How did Hamas get through?

Some Hamas fighters tried to bypass the barrier completely, including by flying over it on paragliders (unverified footage showed at least seven drifting above Israel) and by boat.

The Israel Defense Forces said they had repelled two Hamas attempts to cross into Israel by landing vessels on the beach.

But what sets this attack apart is the several co-ordinated, direct assaults on barrier crossing points.

At 05:50 local time, a Telegram account associated with Hamas’s armed wing posted the first images from the ground, taken at Kerem Shalom – the most southern of Gaza’s crossings.

They showed militants overrunning a checkpoint and the bloodied bodies of two Israeli soldiers on the ground.

Another image showed at least five motorbikes, each carrying two militants armed with rifles, passing through a hole that had been cut in the wire fence section of the barrier.

A line of militants on motorbikes
Image caption,Militants broke through the barrier at Kerem Shalom by overunning guards and cutting through the fence

At a less guarded section, a bulldozer was seen demolishing a stretch of barbed wire-topped fencing.

Dozens of seemingly unarmed people were gathered there, and some began to run through the gap.

Bulldozer destroys section of Gaza barrier
Image caption,BBC News has verified footage of a bulldozer destroying a section of the barrier

At Erez – the furthest north of the Gaza crossings, around 43.4km (27 miles) from Kerem Shalom – Hamas was swarming another crossing.

Footage was posted on one of the group’s propaganda channels. It shows an explosion at the concrete barrier, which served as a signal to start the assault, and a militant can then be seen waving a group of fighters towards the blast site.

Eight men in bulletproof vests and carrying rifles run towards the heavily fortified checkpoint and fire at Israeli troops.

Later in the video, the bodies of Israeli soldiers are seen lying on the floor as the militants go from room to room sweeping the compound, clearly organised and trained.

Gaza has seven official crossings – six are controlled by Israel, one into Egypt is controlled by Cairo.

But within the space of a few hours, Hamas had found ways to enter Israeli territory along the length of the barrier.

Attacks reach deep into Israeli territory

Hamas fighters swept out of Gaza in all directions. We now know from the Israeli authorities that they assaulted 27 different locations, seemingly with orders to kill on sight.

The furthest Hamas penetrated was the town of Ofakim, which lies 22.5km (14 miles) east of Gaza. The map below shows the different areas they reached.

Map showing town stormed by Hamas

In Sderot, militants were seen standing on the back of a pick-up truck being driven through the town, which lies around 3km (1.8 miles) to the east of Gaza.

Around a dozen armed fighters were seen fanning out through the empty streets of Ashkelon, just to the north of the Erez crossing which had just been stormed.

Similar scenes were repeated across southern Israel and civilians were told by the military to hide indoors.

At a music festival near Re’im, gunmen fired at will at a large group of young people who had gathered in the desert.

An eyewitness told the BBC how the militants were driving around a van loaded with weapons and spent three hours searching the area for other Israelis to target.

Soldiers and civilians taken captive

We now know that hostages were taken from the festival and other locations and transported back into Gaza. Israel says 100 people – soldiers and civilians – have been abducted.

Footage taken in the town of Be’ri and verified by the BBC shows around four civilians being forcibly led away by militants.

Several videos have circulated online of Israelis, some of them heavily injured, being paraded through Gaza’s crowded streets.

Other unverified atrocities too graphic to publish were captured on camera, including a motorist being dragged from his car and having his throat slashed, and the bodies of dead civilians and soldiers being defiled.

Militants leading hostages away
Image caption, Several videos purporting to show hostages being taken have been shared on social media. The BBC has confirmed this apparent abduction happened in Be'ri.

As well as targeting Israeli communities, Hamas also attacked two military sites: a base at Zikim and another at Re’im.

Footage taken from near Re’im shows the aftermath, with several burned-out cars scattered along the road to the base. It’s unclear how many people were killed during the fighting.

Hamas’s social media channels have repeatedly shared images of dead Israeli soldiers. BBC News has not verified these images.

Within just a few hours of the rocket barrage beginning, hundreds of Israelis were dead – and it happened in a way no-one thought was possible.

Help began to arrive in the stricken southern region within a few hours but Hamas, for a time, was in effective control of pieces of territory outside of Gaza.

The speed and deadliness of the surprise attack has stunned Israel. Questions over how it was able to happen will be asked for years.

By mid-morning, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared: “We are at war.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Freeman while answering questions on Nigeria’s Channels Television Monday morning, said Israel would do all it had to do to protect its people, even if it means the IDF soldiers would cross into Gaza to engage Hamas. He also said all options were open about countries like Iran supporting Hamas. He vowed that as Hamas has continuously indicated their willingness to exterminate his country, Israel will see to the total destruction of the organization.

BBC

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Foreign

SHE DIED SAVING HER CHILDREN FROM FIRE AND GAVE LIFE TO 8 MORE PEOPLE THROUGH HER ORGAN

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Madison Hope Summerville had just celebrated her 23rd birthday, according to her family. GoFundMeCNN 

A mother died after saving her children from a house fire. Her organ donations helped 8 other people, official says

  

A 23-year-old mother who died after helping save her three young children from a house fire has now helped eight other people through organ donations, her family and the local coroner said.

Madison Hope Summerville celebrated her 23rd birthday just three days before a house fire broke out on February 15, according to a verified GoFundMe page set up by her sister.

Summerville was able to get one of her children out of their mobile home, in Spalding County, Georgia, County Fire Operations Chief Michael Byrd told CNN.

The child began “screaming for help” and was discovered by someone who was at a nearby recycling center, according to Spalding County Fire Marshal Rocky White.

That individual alerted a fire station nearby and fire authorities – along with two neighbors – rushed to the home and rescued the mother and two children, who were still inside, White said.

“The only thing we knew to do was get the babies out,” Bradley Wright, one of the neighbors who ran toward the blaze, told CNN affiliate WSB.

“So my (fiancée) snatches the door open and she pulls out the first kid, and I performed CPR on him for about 10 minutes,” Wright said. “I got kids about that age, and the only thing I knew was what any father would do: just step into action and make sure the babies were all right.”

Summerville had refused to leave the home until all of her children were safely outside, WSB reported, citing family members.

She died of smoke inhalation a day after the fire, Spalding County coroner Michael Pryor said. Summerville was an organ donor, and with her donation “helped eight other people,” Pryor said.

“She was amazing in the fact that she did her absolute best to try to get her children out… to the point that it cost her her life,” Pryor added.

Summerville’s sister described her as “an amazing mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend” on the GoFundMe page.

“She loved spending time with her babies and her niece and nephew and she also loved fishing rain or shine,” according to the page. “Madison was an all-around bubbly person who would make you laugh instantly.”

The fundraiser was set up to help cover Summerville’s funeral costs, her sister said. It had raised more than $23,000 as of Thursday night.

Authorities have not said what caused the house fire, only that it was accidental, according to WSB.

CNN

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Foreign

THE TALIBAN EXECUTES TWO MEN BY SHOOTING THEM AT THE SPINE

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  • The Taliban continues to execute criminals and dissidents for a range of crimes 

Taliban authorities publicly executed two men convicted of murder today by machine-gunning them through the back in front of a crowd of spectators.

Both men were executed by multiple gunshots to the back in Ghazni city after Supreme Court official Atiqullah Darwish read aloud a death warrant signed by Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada.

‘These two people were convicted of the crime of murder… after two years of trial in the courts of the country, the order has been signed,’ Darwish said.

Thousands of men gathered in the stadium to witness the execution.

Families of the convicted men’s victims were present and were asked if they wanted to grant the condemned a last-minute reprieve but they declined.

Illustrative image shows an alleged murderer being executed before a crowd in Kabul in 1998
Illustrative image shows an alleged murderer being executed before a crowd in Kabul in 1998
A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan August 14, 2021
A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan August 14, 2021

The Taliban administration in Kabul has not been officially recognised by any other government since it took power in 2021 and imposed an austere interpretation of Islam.

Akhundzada ordered judges in 2022 to fully implement all aspects of Islamic law – including ‘eye for an eye’ punishments known as ‘qisas’.

Islamic law, or sharia, acts as a code of living for Muslims worldwide, offering guidance on issues such as modesty, finance and crime.

However, interpretations vary according to local custom, culture and religious schools of thought.

Taliban scholars in Afghanistan have employed one of the most extreme interpretations of the code, including capital and corporal punishments little used by most modern Muslim states.

Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent building a new judicial system under the last foreign-backed government, a combination of Islamic and secular law with qualified prosecutors, defence lawyers and judges.

However, many Afghans complained of corruption, bribery and the slow delivery of justice.

Public executions were common during the Taliban’s first rule from 1996 to 2001.

Thursday’s executions are believed to be the third and fourth death penalties meted out since the Taliban authorities returned to power.

The first two had also been convicted of murder.

There have been regular public floggings for other crimes, however, including theft, adultery and alcohol consumption.

The previous execution was carried out in June 2023, when a convicted murderer was shot dead in the grounds of a mosque in Laghman province in front of some 2,000 people.

Many governments, international organisations and aid agencies cut off or severely scaled back their funding for Afghanistan in response – causing a serious knock to the already struggling economy.

The Taliban government has also barred girls and women from high schools and universities, banned them from parks, funfairs and gyms, and ordered them to cover up in public.

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Foreign

DOZENS OF HAMAS TERRORISTS SURRENDER TO ISRAELI SOLDIERS

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Dozens of Hamas terrorists surrendered to Israeli force s in northern Gaza Thursday, Dec. 7, according to reports.

The Hamas terrorists turned themselves in after being pushed back by the advancing Israel Defense Forces near Jabaliya, the Times of Israel reports.

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Photos show dozens of alleged Hamas terrorists lined up on a street, sitting in rows with their hands over their heads.

The men were stripped to just their underwear as the IDF troops lined them up.

In one clip, the dozens of Hamas members could be seen in the back of an Israeli military vehicle.

Channel 13 reporter Almog Boker estimated that more than a hundred Hamas fighters turned themselves in, the largest group to surrender to the IDF since Israel began its incursion into the Palestinian enclave.

However, Israel’s Kan News reported that the group of men were detained before the IDF could verify whether they were all in fact members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The New Arab, a Qatari-owned news outlet based in London, alleged that one of the men seen in the footage was Diaa Al-Kahlot, one of its correspondents reporting from Gaza.

Senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan claimed that the people arrested in the video were unarmed civilians who were not affiliated with the terror group, Arabic broadcaster Al Araby reports.

The IDF has yet to comment on the arrests in Jabaliya.

Many watchers of the ongoing situation in Gaza had always believed it was a matter of time before the Hamas terrorists began to be captured or surrender in their numbers.

Hamas is already claiming the dozens of alleged Hamas terrorists rounded up were not it’s members. Before now, people have been wondering why upon all the footages of the war in Gaza most pro Hamas media organisations have been portraying most graphically, no wounded or killed Hamas combatants have been shown.

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