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US President Joe Biden says he has seen “confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children” in southern Israel during Saturday’s bloody terrorist attacks.

“I never really thought that I would see and have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children … I never thought I’d ever — anyway,” Mr Biden, 80, told leaders of Jewish groups at the White House on Wednesday.

A senior White House national security aide told reporters immediately following the event that he had not seen the images to which Mr Biden was referring. A different White House official directed the NY Post to comments by Tal Heinrich, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr Heinrich told CNN on Tuesday that babies and toddlers were found with their “heads decapitated” in Kfar Aza, a small community near the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Videos show aftermath of Hamas attack on Beeri

Those comments came after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told the broadcaster that Hamas militants carried out a “massacre” in which women, children, toddlers and elderly people were “brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action”.

Hamas on Wednesday denied “false” media reports about attacking children.

“The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas has strongly dismissed the false claims promoted by some Western media outlets, such as Palestinian freedom fighters killing children and targeting civilians,” the group said on its Telegram channel.

The sickening reports first emerged on Tuesday that up to 40 babies were butchered, some with their heads cut off, in Kfar Aza.

But the horrifying claims drew scepticism, with some media outlets saying they were unable to independently verify the reports and conflicting statements from Israeli authorities causing confusion.

Nicole Zedek, a journalist with Israel’s i24 News, was the original source of the claim.

“I’ve been talking to some of the soldiers, and they say what they’ve witnessed as they’ve been walking through these houses, these communities — babies, their heads cut off. That is what they said,” she said on Tuesday.

“Families gunned down in their beds. You can see some of these soldiers now, comforting each other, many of them reserves, many of whom left their own families behind, not knowing the sheer horror they were going to come to. They say they’ve never experienced anything like this, this is not something anyone ever could have imagined. About 40 babies at least were taken out on gurneys. They are going house to house still taking out dead bodies.”

Fox News war correspondent Trey Yingst wrote on X, “Imagine the worst things possible that can be done to humans. Hamas did all of that and more to Israeli civilians. Babies beheaded. People burned alive in their homes. Women raped and dragged through the streets. Don’t look away.”

But IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said earlier he was unable to confirm the “sickening” reports of beheadings.

“I have heard the reports. I have been chilled by the reports,’’ he told Sky News Australia.

“At this age. I cannot confirm it. Sadly, I don’t think it would be beneath them to do even such monstrosity, but at this stage I cannot confirm it. The pictures are sickening. I mean I’ve been around military business for many years and I’ve seen my share of things that I would rather not have seen. It’s became like something from an beyond our ability to comprehend.”

Samuel Forey, a French journalist who visited Kfer Aza, also said he had not been able to personally verify the beheading of babies.

“I checked with two emergency services (wishing to remain anonymous, as the subject is sensitive), who collected a number of corpses. Both claim that they have not witnessed such abuses — without saying that it did not exist,” Forey wrote on X.

A spokesperson for the IDF separately told The Intercept on Wednesday that “we cannot confirm it officially, but you can assume it happened and believe the report”.

Meanwhile, Yossi Landau, an official with Israel’s volunteer civilian emergency response organisation Zaka, told CBS News he personally saw the bodies of children and babies who were beheaded.

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

Zedek said in a radio interview on Wednesday she was appalled by initial public scepticism.

“I mean, babies’ heads cut off,” she said. “That’s what they encountered when they came there. So as horrible as it is and I wish that I it wasn’t true.”

A revolting image circulated online by the IDF on Wednesday depicted an Israeli child’s bloodstained mattress with a streak of blood spatter on the wall and a gush of red coating the footboard.

Mr Biden said he wouldn’t take any questions from reporters at the White House event — but pre-emptively answered one he said that he expected to be shouted about his efforts to bring home the unknown number of US captives taken to Gaza.

“If I told you, I wouldn’t be able to get them home,” Mr Biden said.

“Folks, there’s a lot we’re doing … I haven’t given up hope of bringing these folks home.”

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at the regular White House briefing on Wednesday that the number of Americans who “we believe is held hostage is very small — is very small, like less than a handful … but that could change over time”.

Mr Biden has ducked press questions in other venues since Hamas’ stunning attack on Israel.

He is facing mounting bipartisan calls from Congress to reverse his decision to authorise the release of $US6 billion to Iran, which reportedly helped plot the attack.

— with NY Post

Read related topics:Joe Biden

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