Israel: Survivor tearfully reports on music festival massacre: "It was hell on earth"

Music, partying, dancing until dawn: What began as an exuberant celebration with hundreds of young people in the south of Israel ended in an unimaginable nightmare.

Israel: Survivor tearfully reports on music festival massacre: "It was hell on earth"

Music, partying, dancing until dawn: What began as an exuberant celebration with hundreds of young people in the south of Israel ended in an unimaginable nightmare. Moti Bukjin from the Israeli voluntary service Zaka told the AFP news agency on Monday that there were "around 200 to 250 bodies." He has never seen anything comparable in his 28 years of working for the organization that specializes in the recovery of corpses. On Tuesday, the authorities revised the number of victims upwards. Accordingly, more than 270 bodies were discovered on the extensive festival site near the Gaza Strip.

“They just went out and shot people in their cars,” Bukjin said. The Zaka helper struggles to compose himself as he tries to describe what he found when he arrived at the festival site. There were about “four or five trucks, each carrying 50 bodies.” According to him, horrific scenes must have taken place here. When armed fighters from the radical Islamic Hamas attacked Israel on Saturday morning, they surprised visitors to the "Supernova" festival near Kibbutz Reim and caused a bloodbath among them. "They slaughtered people in cold blood in an unimaginable way," says the Zaka spokesman.

First, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel in its major attack on Saturday. At the same time, around a thousand Palestinian fighters entered Israeli territory. They came on motorcycles, vans, speedboats and motorized paragliders. Some of them can be seen in videos circulating online: Suddenly they appear in the sky - including people dancing in the Negev Desert. They approach the predominantly young festival visitors. People start to flee in panic. They scream and run to their cars while gunshots can be heard in the background.

The attackers kill numerous people and others are taken hostage. A video circulating online shows 25-year-old Noa Argamani desperately screaming for help as she is abducted on the back seat of a motorcycle. In addition to Israelis, the festival visitors also include numerous guests from other countries. The German Shani Louk has also been missing since the rave festival. On a video, the 22-year-old can be seen half-naked on a pickup truck between several Hamas men in the Gaza Strip, with her face to the ground, her legs twisted, at least unconscious. A young Palestinian spits on her lifeless body as he passes by. Her mother Ricarda Louk hasn't given up hope. She also made a video in German asking for information about her daughter and help in getting the German authorities on board. She is certain that it is Shani Louk in the video - her striking tattoos on her legs and her dreadlocks hairstyle left no doubt, according to "Spiegel". In addition, the daughter's bank card was used in Gaza.

According to the Israeli government, more than a hundred people were kidnapped by Hamas in various locations in Israel on Saturday. According to the latest information, a total of more than 900 people were killed in Israel. Aerial photos from AFP show dozens of burning cars on the side of the road towards the festival site. "There were cars lying on the side of the road, one car was overturned, one car was on its side. In each car there were two or three bodies or just one body," says Moti Bukjin. All the people whose bodies he collects were shot in the head before the attackers set their cars on fire, says the Zaka aid worker. "Some had a bullet in their head or chin." What shocked him most was that the attackers “had so much time before the security forces arrived.” 19-year-old Ester Borochov survived the horror – like a miracle. The young woman was also at the music festival when Hamas commandos began firing indiscriminately at people from all sides.

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Borochov manages to escape in a car, which is then stopped by gunfire, rolls over and ends up in a ditch. "We played dead in the car, my girlfriend and I, for two and a half hours until help came (...). That's how we survived." Israeli soldier Ephraim Mordechayev, who also attended the festival, tells AFP he saw Hamas attackers firing rocket-propelled grenades at the crowd. "Imagine a rocket intended to be fired at houses or tanks being fired at a group of 20 civilians." According to Bukjin, festival-goers who tried to escape on foot were also killed. "Some of the bodies were lying in ditches," says the Zaka spokesman. They were shot while trying to escape. The experienced helper says he has already recovered many bodies, for example after an earlier mass panic in the north of the country. "I thought 45 corpses would be the end of the world," says Bukjin, visibly shaken. Now he knows that everything “could be much, much worse.”

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