Here’s What We Know About Claims That Hamas Beheaded Babies

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

Update, 10/12/2023: This article’s headline has been changed to reflect that this story relies on developing information, instead of a definitive fact-check. We will update this article as more information becomes available. 

Viral claims that Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip, beheaded babies during its attack on Israel have spread over social media.

Where Did These Claims Originate From?

The claim appears to originate from a report from i24 News correspondent Nicole Zedek. Zedek reported that Hamas killed dozens of Israeli civilians in the kibbutz of Kfar Aza, including babies. She cited Israeli soldiers, who told her that Hamas had beheaded babies.

“I’m talking to some of the soldiers and they say what they’ve witnessed as they’ve been walking through these different houses… Babies, their heads cut off, that’s what they said. Families gunned down in their beds,” Zedek reported.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Major Gen. Itai Veruv told reporters that a “massacre” occurred at Kfar Aza.

“You see the babies, the mothers, the fathers, in their bedrooms, in their protection rooms and how the terrorist kills them. It’s not a war, it’s not a battlefield. It’s a massacre, it’s a terror activity,” Veruv said.

President Joe Biden claimed to have seen pictures of beheaded children, but Biden administration officials walked back the claim and said he was referring to Israeli reports, according to NBC News.

Was This Report Confirmed?

Sky’s chief correspondent Stuart Ramsey interviewed two IDF majors when he visited Kfar Aza and neither said to Ramsey that they saw beheaded babies.

“At no point did either he, or the other major I spoke to, ever mention that Hamas had beheaded or killed 40 babies or children. I believe that if it were the case, they would have told me and others there,” Ramsey said.

Ramsay stated he saw “stretcher-bearers bringing out a small child and a basketball court with bodies lined up in black body bags,” when he visted Kfar Aza. (RELATED: Fact Checking Videos, Images And Posts From The October Hamas Attack On Israel)

“We cannot confirm any numbers. What happened in Kibbutz Kfar Aza is a massacre in which women, children and toddlers and elderly were brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action,” the IDF told Sky News in a statement.

An Israeli official told CNN that the government could not confirm if babies had been beheaded. An IDF spokesperson told Business Insider that the military would not investigate reports of beheaded babies because it would “be disrespectful for the dead.”

“We’re not going to investigate the condition of bodies and even if we did we won’t comment publicly about the condition of our civilians’s bodies. And babies,” the spokesperson said to Business Insider and pointed to an Israeli soldier telling i24 News that he saw beheaded children and women.

Hamas has reportedly rejected the claims of the actions on their website, according to The New Arab. “We categorically affirm the falsehood of the fabricated allegations promoted by some Western media outlets,” the statement read. “The latest of which was the claim of killing children, beheading them, and targeting civilians.”

Who Corroborated This Report?

French journalist Margot Haddad tweeted that she had seen images and videos of beheaded babies and that Israeli military and intelligence sources had told her that Hamas had beheaded children.

Finally it’s said. This journalistic war is UNSUPPORTABLE in these circumstances. As I said on LCI yesterday in complete transparency – 3 sources: 2 high-ranking soldiers on the SOUTH field & 1 member of Shin Beth confirmed to me the beheading of children without giving me any figures. That’s also what it’s like to be a reporter in times of conflict when the news is so hot: journalists don’t have the same sources and STILL HAPPY. NO confirmation of the NUMBER,” Haddad tweeted. She added,” As for the videos of beheadings and photos of baby bodies in Kfar Aza, I have them in my possession and I will say it one last time: No. Never. I will NEVER broadcast these images.”

An IDF spokesperson told CBS News that Israeli soldiers had seen “beheaded children of varying ages, ranging from babies to slightly older children.” Yossi Landau, a leader in the civilian search and rescue organization ZAKA, said to CBS News that he had personally seen beheaded babies and children.

“I saw a lot more that cannot be described for now, because it’s very hard to describe,” Landau said.

IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said during an update that Hamas did behead babies, citing eyewitness accounts and CBS News’s reporting.

“We got very very disturbing reports that came from the ground that there had been babies that had been beheaded. I admit it took us some time to really understand and to verify that report, and it was hard to believe that even Hamas could perform such a barbaric act,” Conricus said.  He added, “I think we can now say, with relative confidence, that this is what Hamas did to civilians.”

CNN editor Nic Robertson reported that there “were so many murdered members of this kibbutz. Men, women, children, hand bound, shot, executed, heads cut.”

A CNN spokesperson told Check Your Fact that Robertson “did not see this directly himself.” The spokesperson also referred Check Your Fact to a CNN report, which states,”Babies and toddlers were found decapitated’ in Kfar Aza, Tal Heinrich, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Wednesday. CNN could not independently verify that report.”

Veruv told ABC News that Hamas “burned the apartments, then they shoot the babies, they cut their heads.” He also told the outlet that residents of Kfar Aza had been killed before their bodies were mutilated and decapitated by Hamas.

The Times reported that Israeli soldiers “said that up to 40 babies’ corpses had been found among entire families who were shot dead as they slept. The children in particular appeared to have suffered gruesome deaths: there were claims that some had had their throats cut.”

Veronika Kuchyňová Šmigolová, the Czech Republic ambassador to Israel, told a Czech outlet that she personally saw pictures of beheaded Israeli children. The Jerusalem Post reported that its team had seen and verified images of beheaded babies. (RELATED: Hamas Official Falsely Claims Group Did Not Kill Any Civilians)

“The Jerusalem Post can now confirm based on verified photos of the bodies that the reports of babies being burnt and decapitated in Hamas’s assault on Kfar Aza are correct. May their memory be a blessing,” the outlet tweeted.

Check Your Fact has reviewed images that showed at least one dead child and multiple other photos purporting to be the burnt corpses of other children, though we have not seen any images showing beheaded children. We are not linking to any of them due to their graphic and disturbing nature.

Dr. Chen Kugel, head of the National Center for Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv, said to The Media Line that he saw many victims, from as young as three months to 80 or 90 years old. Some of the bodies he saw were headless, including babies, though didn’t indicate whether they had been beheaded by knives or RPGs.

Update, 10/13/2023: This article has been updated with a response from a CNN spokesperson.

Update, 10/23/2023: This article has been updated with new reporting. 

Note: Check Your Fact is working to debunk false and misleading claims from the recent event. Please send tips to [email protected]


Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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