Tel Aviv, Israel
On the eastern edge of Gaza, dawn is still a few minutes away on the morning of October 7. A group of Hamas militants wait, some packed into a white pickup truck, others on motorcycles. They go through a few final checks, making sure they’re recording video and their weapons are ready.
An explosion in the distance seems to be the signal to move.
As they rush to the border, the men shout “Allahu Akbar,” a phrase that means “God is great” in Arabic.
After three minutes of driving, they cross the first border fence that separates Gaza from Israel. The fence is broken, leaving a large opening that they pass through, though it’s hard to tell if it’s from the explosion heard moments earlier.
Video of the attack provided to CNN by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) provides a new window into part of the Hamas operation launched from Gaza’s eastern border. The video originates from the bodycam of one of the terrorists who participated in the attack. The IDF said it released the video to show the reality of what happened on Oct. 7, a day Israeli officials have compared to 9/11, when an estimated 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 others taken hostage in Hamas’ brutal attack inside. Israel.
The video marks the first time Israel has publicly released footage of Hamas tunnels in Gaza, which it says were used on the day of the attack. It is unclear whether the same person is operating the camera in the underground clip, which shows a larger room that acts as a junction leading to a series of narrower tunnels. Wires run along the shafts, although there is no visible overhead lighting. Instead, the only point of light comes from a flashlight. Some supplies are resting on the floor along with several blue barrels.
At one point the men underground point the flashlight down a deep vertical shaft with a ladder running along one side. There is writing in red spray paint on the concrete walls. A sign reads: “What is hidden is far worse.”
The video of the attack is an unbroken recording of 100 minutes, starting before the assault and continuing until the camera stops. CNN has geolocated the locations seen in the footage and confirmed that they match other footage from the attack.
As the group passes the first border fence, the gunman with the camera repeatedly yells, “Go right!” He appears to know where he is going, indicating the depth of planning and coordination as Hamas launched a multi-pronged attack across the Gaza border.
Less than two minutes later, the militants cross the second security fence. They are in Israel and are on their way to a kibbutz, where they race along dirt roads between plowed fields among a group of motorcycles. Many of the men carry rifles like AK-47s, while some carry rocket-propelled grenades slung across their backs.
Seventeen minutes into the video, the pickup truck stops as the gunman opens fire for the first time across an open field with Israeli buildings visible in the distance. It is unclear if he hits anything. For a few minutes the group pauses and appears to regroup. A man urges everyone not to shoot into the air and spill fire.
At one point, the group thanks God for making it this far as they wonder where the Israeli soldiers are. So far, their movement has been almost unhindered across Israeli territory.
In a field near the Israeli town of Kissufim, the gunman with the bodycam leaves the car and walks across a field with other militants. The video shows him running past a man preparing a rocket-propelled grenade on his shoulder. They cover each other as they advance and shoot as they move.
The video shows the bodycam gunman charging the last piece when he spots an Israeli soldier on the ground. At point blank range, he opens fire repeatedly, killing the soldier.
As other militants catch up, the gunman takes the Israeli soldier’s Tavor rifle. The gunman turns the bodycam on himself for a selfie video. He cheers as others join in the celebration.
Moments later, he is more composed as he speaks to the camera that appears to be mounted on his helmet. He gives his name and says he is 24 years old. He is a father and he says he killed two Israeli soldiers. He prays to God for victory and “well-deserved martyrdom”.
From here, the group advances on motorcycles and speeds along almost empty Israeli roads.
The gunman shouts with joy as he passes the bodies of Israelis scattered across the street. His wave of attacks was not the first, other terrorists have reached this place before him. Rounding a corner on the motorcycle, he comes to a bus stop, which CNN has seen in one of the earliest videos from the day of the attack.
In that video, dash cam footage from an Israeli car escaping rocket fire at the nearby Nova music festival shows the car approaching a group of militants who open fire. The bullets pierce the glass and shatter the windshield. The car goes down the road, the driver is almost certainly killed in the hail of bullets. The time stamp on the video shows it to be just after 7:40 in the morning.
It also shows the moment the gunman with the body cam arrives at the scene because the car with the dash cam is visible in his video.
For 65 minutes after they crossed the Gaza fence, the gunman with the camera and the group traveling around him had almost free reign in Israel, traveling along roads and across fields with impunity. They have traveled nearly 10 miles and passed the towns of Ein HaShlosha and Kisufim.
Now the group is approaching a military base near Kibbutz Re’im. The gunman closes the distance and fires the weapon he took from the Israeli soldier as he approaches the gate.
Someone from the base fires back.
The man screams as he is hit and falls to the ground near the weapon. The camera swings slightly back and forth, while the breathing becomes fast and shallow.
His part in the assault comes to an end. But the terror of the October 7 attacks would continue for hours to come.