More than 1 million people living in the Gaza Strip have fled their homes ahead of an imminent ground invasion by the Israel Defense Forces.
Israel is planning a new phase of the conflict that involves attacks by land, sea and air, in response to the Hamas attack in kibbutz Kfar Aza earlier this month that left the border town in ruins. It's now a murder scene frozen in time, after being ambushed by Hamas militants.
Scripps News was brought there by the Israel Defense Forces as they amass along the border, bearing witness to what Hamas did and preparing their troops for a counterattack.
The war, which began on Oct. 7, has now evolved into the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides of the conflict, with more than 4,000 people now confirmed dead.
Homes in Kfar Aza were left ransacked, completely stripped of any value they possessed. And blood stains remain in the ruins as reminders of the slaughter of innocent men, women and children.
"I'm a father. You know I have three kids of my own," one Israeli soldier told Scripps News. "And just to imagine what happened to all the kids here, the babies."
From the ground you can still hear controlled explosions from the bombs that Hamas terrorists left behind.
"Here it is very dangerous because we still have sporadic attacks of terrorists trying to pass the fence," another soldier said as he pointed toward the border. "And also, they're trying to fire anti-tank missiles, so that's why the soldier asked us not to get close to the fence."
The war is being fought on multiple fronts: in the skies, the streets and in the information space.
Evidence found on body cameras from dead Hamas gunmen is being meticulously collected and shared, much of it irrefutable proof of what they did from their own perspective. Now, the bodies left behind to rot must be checked for booby traps as the stench of death still lingers in the air.
Beyond the strategic importance of reminding the world of the context of what happened here, the act of witnessing carries a moral weight in Israel. In the words of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel: "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness."
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