A building is ablaze following rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, Israel October 7, 2023.
See how the deadly surprise attack on Israel unfolded
02:07 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Armed militants from Gaza launched a surprise attack on Israel at dawn on Saturday, blasting holes in the border fence, killing an unknown number of Israeli soldiers and taking hostages, propaganda videos geolocated and authenticated by CNN show.

Israeli soldiers at border posts appeared to have been largely caught by surprise by the assault, which was carried out using what appeared to be drones, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank guided missiles and assault weapons, the videos shared on social media by the Islamist militant group Hamas show.

The militants also took over military bases near the border, capturing military vehicles and setting fire to tanks. In some cases, fighters advanced for a few miles into communities near the security fence separating Gaza from Israel, taking civilians captive.

CNN has examined nearly a dozen Hamas propaganda videos, using analysis and geolocation to piece together what happened in key locations. These videos, published by Hamas on their social media channels, were heavily edited by the terror group.


At a nearby outdoor music festival, taking place just under two miles from the border, some attendees told CNN that they first became aware of the attack from the sound of rockets.

A video posted to a Hamas social media account shows an attack near one section of the border fence when a drone filmed an attack on an Israeli tank. Nearby, in a separate video, smoke is seen rising near a fresh breach to a fence. The video showed an Israeli tank burning near that breach.

Concertgoers said gunfire began roughly 30 minutes after they first heard rockets and explosions. Two attendees told CNN that they had already begun to evacuate the area because of the rockets, when they realized they needed to run to escape bullets.

The militants advanced all the way to a kibbutz about three miles southeast from the border with Gaza, according to the IDF.

Videos geolocated by CNN show armed militants moving around the Be’eri kibbutz and taking multiple Israelis captive. The current whereabouts of these hostages is unknown, but CNN confirmed at least some of the festival attendees were filmed being paraded around Gaza by armed militants.

The Erez Crossing

A video geolocated by CNN shows militants from Gaza, entering the Erez military facility after breaching the border with explosives. The Erez Crossing is the main border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The fighters are then seen firing at a guard tower and moving inside what appear to be the living quarters of the military base.