Israeli forces extract dead bodies of residents from a destroyed house in the Kfar Aza community
Jerusalem CNN  — 

The Israeli government has not confirmed the specific claim that Hamas attackers cut off the heads of babies during their shock attack on Saturday, an Israeli official told CNN, contradicting a previous public statement by the Prime Minister’s office.

“There have been cases of Hamas militants carrying out beheadings and other ISIS-style atrocities. However, we cannot confirm if the victims were men or women, soldiers or civilians, adults or children,” the official said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that people had been beheaded by Hamas in an appearance beside Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, but did not specify if they were children.

His office later released what it described as “horrifying photos of babies murdered and burned by the Hamas monsters.”

The three photos showed two babies whose bodies had been burned beyond recognition and a third infant’s bloodstained body.

The post said that Netanyahu showed Blinken the photos, as well as others.

The explosive allegations that children had been decapitated at the kibbutz of Kfar Aza emerged Tuesday in Israeli media. Israel Defense Forces later described the scene as a “massacre” in a statement to CNN. Women, children toddlers and the elderly were “brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action,” the IDF said.

Tal Heinrich, a spokeswoman for Netanyahu, said on Wednesday that babies and toddlers had been found with their “heads decapitated” in Kfar Aza.

US President Joe Biden appeared to confirm that information. In a roundtable with Jewish community leaders on Wednesday, he said: “I have been doing this a long time, I never really thought that I would see… have confirmed pictures of terrorist beheading children.”

A US administration official later clarified Biden’s remarks, telling CNN that neither Biden nor his aides had seen pictures or had received confirmed reports of children or infants having been beheaded by Hamas. The official clarified that Biden was referring to public comments from media outlets and Israeli officials.

An IDF spokesman, Jonathan Conricus, later in the day said terrorists had likely carried out decapitations of babies in the Be’eri kibbutz.

“We got very very disturbing reports that came from the ground that there were babies that had been beheaded… I think we can now say with relative confidence that unfortunately this is what happened in Be’eri,” he said.

Israeli officials initially avoided discussing the specifics of how its citizens were killed. They instead likened Hamas’ brutality to that of ISIS, the Sunni terror group that beheaded captives and burned prisoners alive.