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Israel shows Hamas attack videos as it tries to keep focus on brutality of Oct. 7 ambush

TEL AVIV — Hamas militants tearing through a border fence and celebrating after reaching Israeli soil. Festivalgoers running, screaming and hiding as a hail of bullets and rockets descends upon them. Civilians, including young children, shot to death and burned beyond recognition. These are just some of the scenes the Israel Defense Forces asked journalists to watch today.

The IDF played a gruesome, 46-minute montage of extended footage that it says captures parts of Hamas' deadly attack on Oct. 7. The video includes body camera footage it says was taken from Hamas terrorists, CCTV video, imagery posted to social media by both militants and victims, and video from rescuers. The IDF said it did not release the video to the public out of respect for the families involved and because of privacy concerns.

NBC News could not immediately independently verify all the video, some of which was provided to NBC News.

'Why am I alive?'

In the video, militants can be seen driving and standing on roadways in southern Israel and shooting at approaching vehicles. In some cases, civilians are pulled out of their cars and shot, sometimes multiple times, even after they appear to be already dead. Militants appear to work their way through houses, shooting people trying to hide — under tables and racing through rooms.

At the musical festival near Re'im, revelers are seen hiding, fear and shock on their faces. One person stares horrified into the camera of what appears to be a mobile phone as bloodied bodies lie around them. Image after image shows men, women and children, including an infant, dead, bloodied and burned.

In one harrowing moment, CCTV footage shows a father and two boys running out of their home and into what appears to be a small shelter. Video from security cameras inside and outside the house show militants coming around to the shelter, and a grenade being thrown in. The father then collapses before the boys, covered in blood and wailing for "Daddy," are forced back into the home.

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One boy cries out in the video, which included English subtitles: “It’s really not a prank!” before noticing his brother's bloodied eye. “Can you see with this eye?” he asks frantically. "No ... I can only see with one eye," his sibling responds.

The older boy wails, pounds the floor and shouts, “Why am I alive?” as his sibling appears to sit stunned.

Asked what happened to the two boys, IDF Maj. Gen. Mickey Edelstein, commander of the operational planning team, said he could not share those details out of respect for the family, but he suggested journalists shouldn't assume a "severe scenario."

‘We failed to protect our civilians’

The IDF's decision to show the imagery comes amid mounting scrutiny of Israel's response to Hamas' Oct. 7 attack and the group's continued holding of hostages taken captive during the ambush. Israel has faced questions and condemnation over its now weekslong bombardment of Gaza, which has seen more than 6,500 people killed, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. It has also been criticized for choking access to vital resources for civilians and ordering residents of northern Gaza to abandon their homes and go south as the Israeli military prepares to launch an expected ground invasion.