Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

ISRAELI soldiers told last night how they are still finding Hamas terrorists hiding out near the massacre sites.

Security forces scouring southern Israel believe “dozens” of fighters may be lying low waiting to spring more surprise attacks.

Doug SeeburgIsraeli soldiers in Nir Oz on the Gaza border are still searching for, and finding, Hamas terrorists near the massacre sites – with fears they are lying low and preparing to launch more attacks[/caption]

GettyIsraeli homes were ransacked and torched, with many residents brutally murdered by the Hamas terrorists[/caption]

Doug SeeburgThe Sun’s Nick Parker is reporting from Nir Orz among the burnt out cars[/caption]

Troops patrolling devastated kibbutz villages revealed several had been discovered in recent days.

One soldier told The Sun: “We found an 18-year-old Hamas fighter hiding in bushes between the kibbutz at Be’eri and the border two days ago.

“He was in good shape because he had rations and had changed into civilian clothes he bought with him.

“He was not armed, but may well have had access to weapons stored nearby.

“We have been checking all the abandoned properties after the attacks because we think they are still here — or more may be coming in through their tunnel network.

“The danger is not over. There may be many more out there like him, waiting to strike again.”

There are fears Hamas may have dispatched “sleeper” units waiting to attack again once Israel’s ground offensive begins.

Tension was high yesterday as The Sun’s team in Nir Oz watched machine gunners scanning neighbouring farmland through high-powered scopes.

Nir Oz’s peace-loving hippy community proved easy prey due to the tiny town’s proximity to Gaza.

More hostages were taken from there than any other community. Kibbutz leader Ron Bahat, 57, walked us through the mayhem.

He said: “Nir Oz was beautiful. You can see it was a wonderful, well tended place — the greenest place you can imagine.

“But they came to kill and kidnap and burn and now it’s a ghost town.”

Ron told us Hamas employed a tactic of deliberately burning desperate families out of their homes after they took refuge in secure panic rooms.

He managed to save his family by desperately holding the door shut in his home’s steel-encased shelter — and cowered in terror for more than eight hours before help arrived.

Others had their homes torched until they fled towards the murderers.

Those too old or infirm to walk to Gaza were executed on the spot. Others burned alive in their homes rather than be captured.

Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told infantry troops at the Gaza border yesterday they will soon storm the enclave. He said: “You see Gaza now from a distance. You will soon see it from inside. The command will come.”

But other military chiefs hinted there will not be a rush into an all-out revenge attack, while commanders carefully prepare.

Major Doron Spielman, of the Israeli Defence Force, told The Sun yesterday: “What I can tell you is not to expect an ‘in-and-out’ operation. This is a war. It’s going to take time to prepare for as long as it’s going to take to eliminate Hamas completely.”

The IDF yesterday appeared to have heeded pleas by US President Joe Biden not to make the same mistakes as the ferocious US response to the terror attacks of 9/11.

Biden and UK PM Rishi Sunak — who met Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem yesterday — begged for calm.

An Israeli blitz has already left 3,500 dead in Gaza, sparking fury across the Arab world, threatening to escalate the war.

But Israel has agreed to allow 20 aid lorries to cross into Gaza from Egypt today with promises of 100 more.

Doug Seeburg/News Group Newspapers LtdSun photographer Doug Seeburg is also on the Gaza border capturing the horrors of the Hamas terror attack[/caption]

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