An Aussie dad trapped in Israel has admitted that as fighting broke out last week, he considered taking unimaginable action if militants found his family — kill his own children.
The man, known only as Anthony*, spoke out from a bunker where he’s hiding out with his Israeli-Australian wife and their three children, all aged under four.
The dad told how at first, he didn’t think much of the sound of explosions as he sat in his backyard. Living in Kibbutz Be-eri, a farming community in southern Israel near the Gaza Strip border, rocket fire is not uncommon.
But as the sound of gunfire drew nearer, and rockets started to fall in the kibbutz, concern grew. "I yelled out to my wife to grab the kids and get in the bunker," Anthony told SBS. Apart from a "couple of big knives", the family were defenceless.
Aware of the horrifying treatment of Israeli captives in Gaza, the dad thought he would have to make an impossible decision if Hamas fighters found them.
"The only thing going through my mind was, 'If they come in here, I'm going to have to kill my kids myself'," Anthony said. "I didn't want my kids to become prisoners, so I thought I was going to have to kill my kids."
Anthony and his family lived in the same farming community where over 100 bodies were found in the aftermath of violence that Hamas launched last week. One of the victims was Australian grandmother Galit Carbone.
Anthony and his family are now staying at a hotel near the Dead Sea with other surviving members of the kibbutz. "My heart goes out to the families that have lost so much," he said. "We were so lucky, all our kids were alive."
Israel rallies troops
The shock admission from the dad comes as the Israeli government mobilises 360,000 reserve soldiers from around the world, including a number of Israeli-Australians, an Israeli government official has confirmed.
The move follows an announcement from the Israeli military on Friday which called on the 1.1 million Palestinians living in the north of the Gaza Strip to evacuate to the south by midnight.
"The IDF calls for the evacuation of all civilians of Gaza City from their homes southwards for their own safety and protection and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza," a statement from the IDF reads. "Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields."
The Israeli military is preparing for a possible ground operation in Gaza, with the evacuation order signalling the offensive may be imminent.
Aussies flee the region
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said 1600 Australians had registered for repatriation, including 19 in Gaza. An estimated 10,000 Australian citizens are in Israel, including dual citizens and tourists.
Speaking from Heathrow Airport, one Australian who rushed out of Israel on-board Qantas’ first mercy flight has spoken of his impossible dilemma.
Blake Jory made the difficult decision to leave behind his Israeli partner who had been called up to serve in the country’s reserve forces.
“It's very surreal, you know, leaving was a really difficult decision for me to make because my partner is there. I definitely feel some relief. I’m feeling much better, a lot safer,” he said.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong will on Monday meet with Israel's ambassador to Australia, Amir Maimon. Israel has not asked Australia for military assistance but has not ruled it out, the official said.
— with NCA and AAP
*Anthony's last name has been omitted for privacy reasons.
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