NIR OZ, Israel (WABC) -- The scope of devastation in Nir Oz, Israel, near the Gaza border, is hard to take in. Two weeks ago the kibbutz was a place of peace and light -- but the tiny community was all but wiped out in a bloodbath of hate that started a war.
Eyewitness News Reporter Josh Einiger traveled to a kibbutz that had been destroyed by Hamas in the attack nearly two weeks ago.
An ex-British special forces commando accompanied Einiger through the region as his security expert. He told him that in all of his years, he'd never seen anything like this.
The kibbutz is a very small town that had some 400 residents. More than 100 of them were murdered, captured by Hamas, or are just missing and unaccounted for.
One victim of the raid shared his story of hiding in a safe room and keeping the terrorists at bay.
"They destroyed this amazing place, it used to be heaven," Ron Bahat said.
Bahat said it all started with sirens and alarms for a bombing, so his family got out of bed and went to their safe room.
Then came warnings that there were terrorists in the kibbutz and they were told to lock their doors. He and his family frantically held closed the door to their safe room as militants tried to pry it open.
"And then we started to hear some gunshots, and then we started hearing people speaking Arabic around us, they tied like four or five times try to fight the door," Bahat said. "I'm holding and it was a long time, the longest eight and a half hours of my life. We have a dog and normally anyone who enters the house, she's barking, but this time something happened. She was quiet for eight and half hours. She didn't bark, nothing."
Einiger says that there are a thousand stories to tell in the area. One home was completely burned out and riddled with bullet holes -- one of many there that suffered the same fate.
It had been the home of a mother, father, twin 5-year-olds, and a 2-and-a-half-year-old. The home's safe room door had several bullet holes pierced through it.
When the attack broke out, the family, along with many others, tried to shelter in their safe rooms. Apparently, the Hamas terrorists' only goal in this particular location was to kill as many people as they could. After shooting through the door, the home was set on fire.
Once the attack was over and the rescue workers and military could try to help the victims, the whole family was discovered dead inside the safe room.
Keith Isaacson is the IDF lieutenant colonel in charge of protecting 32 kibbutzim along the sprawling Gaza border -- 16 of which were attacked simultaneously by teams of fighters with the mission to kill women and children cowering in their safe rooms.
"It was very hard for some of the terrorist to get to the children, so what they did, they lit the houses you can see here, and most of the house are on fire because they tried to get to the kids and the women in the bomb shelter," Isaacson said. "Eventually they had to open the window and that's where they were killed."
In another home, militants blew out a wall to access a safe room and kidnapped the couple inside. On Friday, their family asked a group of volunteers to retrieve the couple's personal belongings.
"You think of war you think of battlefield, this war came into these people's homes seeking them out, not collateral damage, not they were in the way, not even caught in the crossfire," said volunteer Sefi Ariely, a native New Yorker. "It was a very very personal attack. This is war but this was very personal, very individual. The hatred was raw."