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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

A music competition survivor fleeing the assault, a pair of Hamas militants and a lethal choice

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KIBBUTZ RE’IM, Israel — The 2 militants have been simply forward of him, spraying gunfire from their bike at passing vehicles. One militant was driving, the 50-year-old man mentioned, and the opposite sat behind, taking pictures at any goal he noticed. At the least one wore physique armor.

“He didn’t see me,” Michael Silberberg mentioned. So Silberberg decided.

He and two associates had already managed to flee the slaughter on the Tribe of Nova music competition, the place tons of of militants from the Palestinian group Hamas had swarmed by means of crowds, killing a minimum of 260 folks and taking an unknown quantity hostage.

They survived one other assault a couple of minutes later, with two hiding in a roadside air-raid shelter whereas the opposite hid exterior.

Quickly after that they have been driving away in Silberberg’s automotive, attempting to get removed from the bloodbath, after they noticed the bike.

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“I knew it’s both I hit him or I do know I die, or different folks die, or any person will die,” Silberberg mentioned.

So he stepped on the accelerator and slammed into the bike together with his four-door sedan.

The shooter, he mentioned, died instantly. The motive force survived, however they left him crawling on the street badly injured.

“They have been neutralized,” Silberberg mentioned.

The boys shortly drove away, with the car’s entrance finish badly dented, the automotive alarm blaring and smoke billowing from in all places. They drove like that for 20 minutes till they reached a pal’s home and located security.

Silberberg, an Israeli-born German, mentioned he had lengthy been politically liberal, hoping for a peace that gave Palestinians their very own homeland.

“You understand: ‘All good. Let’s stay all collectively. Let’s give them the land.’”

However not anymore.

“My thoughts has modified. I’m sorry — I’m not sorry,” he mentioned, sitting in his seafront Tel Aviv house the place he and his two associates hunkered down after the assault.

“You possibly can’t make peace with these folks,” he mentioned. “They don’t need to coexist with us. They need to kill us.”

Early Saturday morning, Hamas militants primarily based within the Gaza Strip blasted by means of the Israeli safety fence and streamed into Israel. The assault killed greater than 1,300 folks in Israel, with subsequent Israeli airstrikes killing greater than 1,530 folks in Gaza. Israel says roughly 1,500 Hamas militants have been killed inside Israel.

Within the days because the assault, Israel has hammered the Gaza Strip with airstrikes because it prepares for a potential floor assault. Israel has additionally lower off meals, gas and medication from Gaza’s 2.3 million folks, main assist teams to warn of an impending humanitarian disaster. Israel says the siege will stay in place till the hostages are freed.

The Tribe of Nova competition, held within the semi-wooded fields exterior Kibbutz Re’im, only a few miles from Gaza, was one of many first Hamas targets.

Movies present militants arriving on vans and bikes, with gunmen charging into crowds and firing on folks as they tried to flee into the fields.

Israeli communities close to the competition additionally got here underneath assault, with Hamas gunmen kidnapping folks — troopers, civilians, the aged and younger kids — and killing scores of others.

The carnage surprised Israel, which had not seen bloodshed like this for many years.

On Thursday, a person who had been tending bar on the competition got here again to the scene of the assault. He mentioned he had no selection.

“I really feel I owe them, you understand, all of the people who have been right here and murdered,” Peleg Horev instructed an Related Press journalist allowed to go to the scene. “I’m alive, I stayed alive. I’ve to inform their story. Every one in every of them.”

The our bodies have been cleared away from the competition grounds, however the wreckage of the assault is in all places.

Bullet-riddled vehicles, many with their home windows shot out, are scattered by means of the competition space and close by roads. Clothes spills from damaged suitcases. A girl’s shirt stays in a tree the place it had been hung to dry. A pair of eyeglasses sit on a windowsill. Ticket cubicles are pocked with gunfire.

“Misplaced and Discovered” broadcasts a competition poster hanging from a fence. “Tenting Space,” says one other.

Leaves blow in a mild breeze as troopers patrol the world, sometimes dropping to the bottom on the sound of distant gunfire. Safety forces fear that militants might assault once more, or that some might nonetheless be hiding within the fields and brush.

Peleg escaped by strolling for hours, deeper into Israel. He averted the roads, the place many who tried to flee by automotive have been killed after they have been caught behind different automobiles that had come underneath assault.

“All of this time you’re listening to gunshots and screaming from afar,” he mentioned. “We simply go so far as we will as quick as we will.”

He’s deeply shaken by the fact that he survived and so many others didn’t.

“I owe them, actually.”


McNeil reported from Tel Aviv.

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