The Israeli government has not confirmed the specific claim that Hamas attackers cut off the heads of babies during their shock attack on Saturday.

An Israeli official told CNN, contradicting a previous public statement by the Prime Minister’s office.

“There have been cases of Hamas militants carrying out beheadings and other ISIS-style atrocities. However, we cannot confirm if the victims were men or women, soldiers or civilians, adults or children,” the official said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that people had been beheaded by Hamas in an appearance beside Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, but did not specify if they were children.


US President Joe Biden appeared to confirm that information. In a roundtable with Jewish community leaders on Wednesday, he said: “I have been doing this a long time, I never really thought that I would see… have confirmed pictures of terrorist beheading children.”

A US administration official later clarified Biden’s remarks, telling CNN that neither Biden nor his aides had seen pictures or had received confirmed reports of children or infants having been beheaded by Hamas. The official clarified that Biden was referring to public comments from media outlets and Israeli officials.

Hamas on Wednesday denied the allegations. Izzat al-Risheq, a senior official and spokesperson for the Islamist militant group, said that the international media had “spread lies about our Palestinian people and the resistance claiming that members of the Palestinian resistance beheaded children and attacked women with no evidence to support such claims and lies.”

CNN has pored through hundreds of hours of media posted online attempting to corroborate accounts of atrocities committed by Hamas. In one video, which CNN determined to be authentic but has not been able to geolocate, an assailant attacks an injured man with a garden tool in an attempt to behead him. But CNN has not seen anything that would appear to confirm the claims of decapitated children.

CNN also visited the ransacked ruins of Kfar Aza on Tuesday and saw no evidence of beheaded youths. Israeli officials have not released any photographs of the incident either.