I’ve spent the last 12 hours speaking to Israelis who were at the Supernova music festival. Their testimonies, as you would imagine, are very emotional. At least one broke down mid-conversation and wasn’t able to continue his recollection.
The attack on the festival outside of Re’im began around 7 a.m. The party was at its peak by then—which meant that by then most people were inebriated. At first, partygoers heard a loud explosion, which they took to be another sporadic rocket attack on southern Israel. But then the explosions grew louder and constant, and kept going for about five minutes. The music stopped, and the police protecting the 4,000 or 5,000 ravers began pushing everyone to leave.
By then, the terrorists were approaching in pickup trucks bearing Hamas military markings.
Shooting began. Many were executed on the spot. 260 bodies have been found, so far, on the site of the rave.
Many of the young men and women started running in the flat expanse of the western Negev desert. Faced with the spectacle of kids fleeing for their lives on a largely flat surface, the terrorists began rounding up the rest of their victims.
Others were captured and bound and kidnapped. “I saw videos with a male getting held by a group of Arab kids. Like, they’re like 16, 17,” one survivor recalled. “They’re kids, but they’re young men already, and they’re holding this guy, and he looks as his girlfriend is being mounted on a bike and driven away from him. God knows what she’s going to experience … Women have been raped at the area of the rave next to their friends bodies, dead bodies.”
Several of these rape victims appear to have been later executed. Others were taken to Gaza. In photographs released online, you can see several paraded through the city’s streets, blood gushing from between their legs.
One survivor who’d returned to the scene later in the day to look for his friends spoke, in a breaking voice, of what he’d seen. Of the bodies, mainly of young women, lying cold and mutilated. Of scantily clad corpses, many of whom appeared to have been shot at point-blank. Of cars, perforated by bullets or blown up by grenades.
Some of the lucky ones ran to a nearby wadi, seeking shelter amid the shrubbery. “I felt like they were shooting right above our heads,” one survivor recalled. “I dove into a bush … It felt like the shooting was coming from 180 degrees, all around us. I understood we’re going to be there for at least a couple of hours. And I had nothing on me. And I was like, the only thing I want is a weapon. I want something to protect us.” Eventually, he and his friends, some of them barefoot, decided to risk it and try to reach safety, walking close enough to the road to see it but not so close so that they might be seen. “I said, if we see like army or police cars, we’re going to go to the road. Otherwise, we’re going to stay away. When we saw police and army cars, we knew that it’s a safe place.”
Later, when the gruesome attack was finally over and IDF soldiers managed to subdue the attackers, they searched these trucks and found RPG launchers, high-end communications devices, assorted AK-47s and other mostly Soviet-made weapons, along with numerous copies of the Quran.