Muslim paramedic recalls 'massacre' in Hamas attack

STORY: Jamal Warraqi, an Arab Muslim volunteer paramedic, was one of the first to arrive at kibbutz Be'eri in southern Israel after the Hamas attack on October 7.

He witnessed the killing of civilians in the kibbutz, which bore the brunt of the slaughter.

Over a month later, he's still shaken to recall the brutality of what he saw.

“That has nothing to do with Islam. Our religion, as a proud Arabic Muslim Israeli guy I'm saying that has nothing to do with our religion.”

Israeli officials say at least 1,300 people were killed, mostly civilians.

The surviving residents were evacuated, and Israel launched a retaliatory bombardment and ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza that has killed more than 11,500 people.

“When we first got into the kibbutz, the first one was Be’eri. I never thought that it, it could be a real thing. A while I thought that I'm dreaming or I'm being in, you know, kind of a film zone or such a thing. I saw everything destroyed, a lot of houses burned, people who were slaughtered and killed in their houses and afterwards the house will be let on fire./When you see such a thing you just think about, you just start imagining what happened in there, what, how did they react, who was got killed first, the kids or the parents.”

Warraqi says Hamas did not spare Muslims in the attack.

He recalls tending to two Arab women in hijab and three Arab bus drivers from East Jerusalem, all shot by the assailants. Reuters couldn't verify his account.

“That means that they're not doing this for the country or for religion, they're just doing this for the hatred.”

Warraqi is still hopeful that Jews, Arabs, Christians, and Muslims can learn to live together in Israel.

There is no other way ahead, he says.

“Of course, we need to live with each other, it's not a question, it's a need to. I think Israel learned today how to die together. Now it's time to learn how to live together. That's what I believe. Listen, Jews, Arabs, Christians, Muslims - we are all the same. Israel is a big whole body and every one of us is one part of this body. If one of these parts is missing, the body won't be, won't be doing its job as it's supposed to. So I think that we have to take care of this and we have to stop hatred and start living together.”