A timeline of how the Gaza attack happened, according to eyewitness sources and the Wall Street Journal, is given below.
A visual timeline of the carnage at the Nova music festival, which happened just three miles outside of Gaza in a bucolic countryside area, has been put together by Wall Street Journal. According to eyewitness sources, it took the Israeli Army around five hours to get to the scene, but by that time, over 260 people—many of them Americans and foreigners—had already died.
Before anyone knew it, the attackers had shut off the festival-goers on three sides. The phrase “hunted by Hamas” is used by them. Watch:
Civilian survivors of Hamas-led strikes on a music festival and kibbutzim close to Israel’s border barrier with Gaza have been speaking to Hebrew media about their experiences, as Middle East Eye previously reported.
Witnesses at the Supernova festival in southern Israel’s woodlands near the secular kibbutz of Reim described how Hamas terrorists on motorcycles opened fire on hundreds of attendees who had already started to leave the event due to rocket fire from the beleaguered Gaza Strip.
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Following the incident, which started at 6.30 a.m. on Saturday, 260 individuals have been reported deceased.
“Suddenly a van with terrorists arrived in front of us and they started shooting us,” one survivor told Haaretz. “They came from all directions, people went like sheep to the slaughter.”
Eyewitnesses claimed that it took the Israeli army five hours to reach the area because people there hid in the vegetation and the on-site police officers served as security forces. Others claimed that as Hamas fighters surged through the neighborhood, dozens of people hid in orchards and ditches and begged for assistance.
Israeli survivor, Michal told Kan News that she came upon a small cabin with roughly 50 individuals. She claimed that when the Israeli policewoman who was present ordered the group to flee if they wanted to survive after the Hamas fighters shot at people inside the cabin, there was a brief period of silence.
However, according to Michal, she was met by five Hamas pick-up trucks, and the exit was blocked. After spending six hours under a tank, she claimed that “at some point, they threw a grenade at us”. Michal claimed she was shot in the leg.
“It was hell on earth,” another survivor told the Israeli broadcaster. Survivors have spoken of their shock at the response from the Israeli army. “They told us that the army was guarding us,” one festival-goer told Israel’s Channel 13 News, “we didn’t want to go home.”
The young people “simply had no chance against dozens of armed terrorists, who were spread out along all the access roads to the party,” according to the publication.
The Elite Hamas Unit Tricked Israeli intelligence by making them think that the Hamas leadership was more concerned with the restoration of Gaza’s economy than with escalating hostilities.
Omer, one of the attendees, reported to Haaretz seeing gunfire coming from all sides. In an effort to flee the onslaught, people rushed and tried to get into cars. Omer and several others managed to escape, but they discovered a road full of burned-out vehicles. Gunmen, he claimed, started shooting at his group: “It was a battlefield.”
“It was mayhem,” another witness said. “They came from everywhere.” Michael Zrihan, the uncle of festival-goer Shahar Mantsur, told Haaretz that after he reached his nephew’s girlfriend over the phone, she told him Mantsur had “gotten a bullet in the neck, and she was hiding in the car”.
They continued talking two hours later. “She was screaming, ‘I’m being shot at, I don’t know what to do’, and we’ve lost contact since then.”
Russian military historian and director of the Museum of Air Defense Forces, Yuri Knutov, said that the Hamas attack revealed the Iron Dome’s inefficiency.
The area where the festival was held was littered with bodies, burned-out automobiles, bullets, and ammo casings after the attack. Israeli media was informed by the Zaka rescue group that at least 250 bodies had been taken from the location.
Israel Hayom stated that one of the attacks on towns near Gaza claimed the life of the granddaughter of former Israeli national football team coach Shlomo Sharaf. The family testified that 22-year-old Mai Naim was assassinated by Hamas fighters after they discovered her in a shelter near the town of Be’eri.
According to Israel’s Yedioth Ahronot daily, the Hamas onslaught on the kibbutz started around 6 a.m. on Saturday. The community’s WhatsApp group started to receive messages reporting the deaths of loved ones.
Born in Costa Rica, one kibbutz resident “wielded a machete” he had acquired there but claimed he knew it wouldn’t assist him against the Hamas fighters and that he had “never been scared like that” before.
Anna, a resident of the kibbutz, spoke to Israel Hayom as the attack was taking place: “My children were injured by gunfire from terrorists on a passing vehicle near the kibbutz. They sent us for medical treatment, and on the way, we saw wounded and dead. The kibbutz is under siege, the army has not yet arrived… In all my years in the Gaza periphery, I have never seen anything like this.”
Hamas is an organization that Israel has designated as a terrorist entity and is behind the new Gaza War in 2023 after the launch of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.
Another kibbutz resident named Ella informed Channel 12 News that she had recognized her father in images shared on the Telegram messaging service. “I think they kidnaped him to the Gaza Strip,” she said. “He wrote to me that they entered their home and kidnapped them.”
Hundreds of Be’eri kibbutz residents have now been relocated to the Dead Sea region, where they are staying in hotels. Gal Hagi, 15, told Ynet, “I couldn’t believe we survived.”