Shocking recordings and reports of the attack by Hamas terrorists on the participants of the festival, which took place on the side of Israel, are circulating around the world. Hundreds of young people died then. CNN journalists talked to those who managed to survive.
It was October 7, 6:30 in the morning. The Nova Festival in southern Israel is about to turn into a nightmare. – We had a good time, there was peace, love and good energy. An hour and a half later, we were running away from bullets, recalls Gal Bukshpan, a survivor of the festival.
Suddenly the music stopped playing. There was concern, but the participants did not yet know what was happening and did not feel scared. After a while, news of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip spread. People started looking for shelter. Some of them lay on the ground, but even the sky strewn with rockets did not cause panic. Such attacks are not uncommon in that part of Israel. About 10 minutes later, some participants began heading toward the parking lot to their cars. They were beginning to understand that deciding when to leave the festival could mean life or death.
At 7:10 a.m. some people managed to get to nearby shelters. It became extremely crowded north of the festival site. Hamas fighters knew this location very well. At 7:24 a.m., terrorists threw a grenade inside, causing horrific destruction. This was not the only such situation. 30 minutes later, terrorists did the same in another shelter. The moment the grenade was thrown inside was captured by a car camera.
CNN identified four different shelters near the festival that were attacked in the same way. They were all full of civilians. Within six hours, hundreds of people trying to escape died around the festival.
At least 260 people died
After analyzing more than 50 videos from the morning and interviewing 12 survivors, CNN determined that Hamas had surrounded the festival site, blocking the exit from three sides – south, north and west, forcing people to flee through fields to the east. There was literally a hunt there.
At 8:15 Gal Bukszpan escaped with the others, running through the fields. Local police and festival security told them to drive east through dirt roads. – We were like ducks. I felt like I was on a shooting range. People were running, there were hundreds of them. You could hear bullets flying everywhere, Gal reports, adding that he saw people who had been shot and were falling to the ground.
At 8:30 Gal Bukshpan continued to flee east. Those who fled north encountered blockades. As a result, they were forced to run back along the main road towards the festival. Not knowing that there were more terrorists just a few kilometers away. Shocking scenes occur on the same road. Just an hour earlier, terrorists fired directly at passing cars.
Those who couldn’t get far hid behind anything, even trees, hoping that the bullets wouldn’t hit them. Many failed.
The Hamas attack killed 260 people, but this number may increase. Three hours after the operation began, at 9:39 a.m., the first videos appeared showing hostages held in Gaza. In one of the recordings, the man was still wearing the festival wristband. Another hostage in the photo was wearing a festival security T-shirt.
Gal admits that he still needs time to understand what happened that weekend. – I know people who spent 12 hours in the bushes and didn’t move, I know people who tried to hide and died. Humanity has never seen anything like this in the last few decades. Maybe since the Holocaust. It was just terrifying, terrifying, says Gal.
Fakty po Południu TVN24/CNN
Main photo source: CNN