How massacre by Hamas gunmen at the Supernova peace festival unfolded
Minute by minute, how the shocking massacre of at least 260 people by Hamas gunmen at the Supernova peace festival unfolded
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It was supposed to be a festival filled with merriment and music as thousands of care-free revellers danced in the desert under the stars.
Scheduled to coincide with the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah, Supernova was billed as a celebration of ‘friends, love and infinite freedom’.
Instead, the weekend-long outdoor rave in southern Israel turned into the site of an unimaginable bloodbath.
Terrified revellers fled for their lives as they were surrounded by Hamas gunmen who descended on the site in paragliders, motorbikes and pick-up trucks.
It was several hours before help would arrive, leaving militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns free to carry out a murderous rampage.
At least 260 were killed in the massacre while many are still missing – probably dead or taken hostage by the bloodthirsty militants. As rescuers continue to sift through the deadly wreckage of the attack yesterday, the Mail recounts how the terror unfolded.
Shani Louk, 30, was seen struggling to reach her car as it was surrounded by armed terrorists. Her mother said she last spoke to her daughter after hearing rockets and alarms sounding in southern Israel and called to see if she’d made it to a secure location. Pictured: Tattoo artist Shani Louk at rave
Survivors of the attack, who posted videos of the ordeal to social media, explained how they were forced to hide under bushes to avoid the Hamas gunmen
As the party-goers scrambled toward their vehicles or took cover they found themselves surrounded as four pick-up trucks filled with militants and gunmen on motorcycles encircled the main road leading out of the venue. Pictured: A festival-goer who posted videos as she hid in undergrowth
DANCING WITHOUT A CARE UNDER THE STARS
Surrounded by trees in the desert, revellers had spent the night dancing to pumping trance music under the stars. They had begun arriving at the site – which featured multiple stages, a camping area and a food court – from 11pm after paying $100 for a ticket, blissfully unaware of the terror to come.
Three miles away at the border with Gaza, heavily-armed Hamas militants were preparing to embark on a callous multi-pronged attack – breaking through the fortified fence surrounding the territory using explosives to create gaps.
MURDEROUS ATTACK BEGINS AT SUNRISE
Footage shows oblivious party-goers dancing at around 6.30am as a formation of Hamas militants on paragliders approaches in the sky some distance behind them.
Around the same time rockets were sent arcing over the heads of the ravers. Some did not initially notice the sound of the explosions and gunfire over the thumping music while others, used to rockets from Gaza, shrugged them off.
But when the music stopped the revellers hit the ground – a standard drill for those in southern Israel where fire exchanges over the border are frequent. A voice boomed over the loudspeakers across the site warning: ‘Guys, we have red alert. Red alert.’ A handful of police officers began breaking up the party and shouting ‘Colour Red’ – code for incoming rocket fire.
Michel Atias, 43, who was at the festival, said: ‘It started off as a beautiful party, with great vibes and energy. But at around 6.30am, the rocket fire started. Many people panicked and started running to their cars.’
Briton Jake Marlowe, 26, who had been working as a security guard at the event, messaged friends later that morning saying he was still trying to get people out. At around 9am, the 26-year-old – who has since gone missing – left a brief voice note to a friend saying he had stayed behind with another pal he referred to as Shlomi. It said: ‘Me and Shlomi are right by Gaza, bro… We are seeing it in front of our eyes, we are rounding up the people from the party now, we are on an ATV [quad bike] and we are telling everyone to get the f*** outta there.’
At least 260 were killed in the massacre while many are still missing – probably dead or taken hostage by the bloodthirsty militants. As rescuers continue to sift through the deadly wreckage of the attack yesterday, the Mail recounts how the terror unfolded
‘SHOT LIKE DUCKS IN A FIRING RANGE’
As the party-goers scrambled toward their vehicles or took cover they found themselves surrounded as four pick-up trucks filled with militants and gunmen on motorcycles encircled the main road leading out of the venue.
‘We heard gunshots and later realised that the gunmen were targeting those who were trying to flee the party – they were waiting for them,’ Mr Atias added. ‘When I reached my car, the terrorists were still shooting. I saw a woman shot in the leg, I saw a car with bullets that had shattered the windshield.
‘There was so much panic and the sound of the gunshots was getting closer and closer. We all understood this was a terror attack.’
Hanoch Hai Cohen, 32, from Tel Aviv said: ‘They were shooting at people just a metre away… these were executions. We were like ducks in a firing range.’ Vehicles were abandoned before the exit as cars were peppered with automatic gunfire and hit with rocket-propelled grenades.
Shye Weinstein, 26, who recently moved to Tel Aviv from Toronto, said: ‘I remember one specific car, the person in the car was in the front seat. They had tried to get away and couldn’t and they were shot in their car.’
Chilling social media footage showed desperate festival-goers running across the desert without cover as rapid gunshots rang out. Some were locked in a terrifying chase as they were pursued by attackers in vehicles, with revellers being killed or seized.
Injured survivor Sahar Ben Sela said he was led to a concrete bomb shelter by a policeman with about 30 others. ‘After a few minutes, the terrorists started shooting at us and neutralized the policeman right in front of us,’ he said. ‘They threw a grenade that exploded at the entrance of the shelter. After a minute… they threw another grenade that hit me in the head. I stood against the wall in the second row of people and the grenade flew to the bodies behind. They were the ones getting hit, and this is what saved us.’
He said a terrorist then entered the shelter with an Uzi machine gun and sprayed the trapped revellers with bullets. Everyone who was in the first and second rows, except for me, was killed. A bullet hit me in the elbow and shrapnel in my leg and lungs. I think his gun got stuck because I heard a noise and he ran outside.’ When Sahar managed to escape he was able to call the police for help but was told simply: ‘Just run. Good luck.’
Aftermath: Burnt-out and abandoned cars where revellers tried to escape the onslaught
An armed Palestinian militant leading a man during the Supernova music festival
An armed Palestinian militant is seen walking around the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Reim in the Negev desert in southern Israel
SAVAGERY IN SIX-HOUR MURDEROUS RAMPAGE
As the murderous gunmen continued to mow down anyone in their path, terrified revellers scrambled for cover in nearby orchards, banana groves or ditches. ‘We were hiding and running, hiding and running, in an open field, the worst place you could possibly be in that situation,’ said Arik Nani from Tel Aviv, who had been celebrating his 26th birthday. Parents and friends received panicked messages from their trapped loved-ones desperately asking for help.
It was still only 9.30am – but it would be six hours before the Israeli military arrived, leaving the militants to murder indiscriminately. Dashcam footage from an abandoned car shows how a reveller was spotted as he hid. Cowering on the ground behind a vehicle, he is approached by a terrorist and executed. Moments earlier another terrorist had fired at an injured reveller before marching him off at gunpoint. Others were forced to play dead as the killing carried on around them, only emerging when they heard security forces speaking in Hebrew.
Ester Borochov, 19, fled in her car before it was hit and broke down. ‘They started shooting at us point blank,’ she said. ‘A young man took us in his Jeep. They shot him… the car overturned. We played dead, me and my friend, for two and a half hours… before help arrived. That’s how we survived.’ May Hayat, who had been working at a festival bar, said: ‘I hid under the stage of the party and laid down next to three dead people. I smeared blood that dripped from one of the bodies and pretended to be dead. For three hours I lie among corpses and wonder what will happen to me.’
KIDNAPPED…THEN USED AS VILE PROPAGANDA
At around 10am, student Noa Argamani, 25, and her boyfriend Avinatan Or had texted loved ones to let them know they were safe.
Noa was said to have been hiding with a group who were being murdered. ‘She was saying there were terrorists going crazy, killing and kidnapping people,’ said childhood friend Yad Gorjalstan, 27. ‘We last heard from Noa around 10am and then the next thing we see is her on a Hamas propaganda video.’
Footage circulating on social media showed the terrified student screaming as she is bundled on to a motorcycle. ‘You can hear her screaming, ‘No, no, no, I am innocent’,’ added Mr Gorjalstan.
NAKED VICTIM’S BODY PARADED IN GAZA
Shani Louk, 30, was seen struggling to reach her car as it was surrounded by armed terrorists.
Her mother Ricarda said she last spoke to her daughter after hearing rockets and alarms sounding in southern Israel and called to see if she’d made it to a secure location. ‘She was going to her car and they had military people standing by the cars and were shooting so people couldn’t reach their cars, even to go away. That’s when they took her.’ Hours later a video emerged of an apparently lifeless semi-naked woman thought to be Miss Louk being paraded through Gaza in the bed of a truck.
In highly distressing scenes, militants are seen sitting on the body as one pulls her hair and another spits on her. Her family said they recognised her distinctive tattoos. ‘It looks very bad, but I still have hope,’ said Mrs Louk.
‘I hope that they don’t take bodies for negotiations. I hope that she’s still alive somewhere.’
Hamas fighters circumvented Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip by flying in via paraglider, according to the Israeli military (pictured: A paraglider crossing into Israel)
The Israeli rescue service Zaka said at least 260 bodies have been removed from the festival site. Pictured: Partygoers fleeing the festival scene on Saturday
BODY BAGS LOADED IN REFRIGERATED LORRIES
The staggering toll of the festival was only becoming clear yesterday, as Israel’s rescue service Zaka said at least 260 bodies had been recovered and there are fears the total could rise.
Harrowing pictures emerged of dozens of body bags being loaded into refrigerated lorries. ‘They butchered people in cold blood in an inconceivable way,’ said Zaka spokesman Moti Bukjin. Desperate relatives have continued to descend on hospitals in an attempt to locate the missing.
Shany Tsaban, 31, said her parents spent hours walking through hospital wards anxiously searching for her missing sister, Bar Zohar, 23. She said: ‘Bar called our mother at around 6.40am yesterday, saying, ‘Mum, come and get me, there are rockets here’.
‘Then a bit later she called again screaming, ‘Mum! Mum’ And then the call was disconnected.’
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