Israel Finds 260 Bodies at Music Festival

Witnesses describe massacre, panic as gunmen killed and took hostages
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2023 3:50 PM CDT
Hamas Killed 260 People at Music Festival: Israel
Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian, center, from Kfar Azza kibbutz into the Gaza Strip on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)

Israeli rescuers said Sunday they found at least 260 bodies at an outdoor music festival after Hamas attacked it the day before, CNN reports. People at the festival said Hamas gunmen fired at attendees who were fleeing. They took others hostage at the Nova Festival, planned as an all-night dance party to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. "We didn't even have any place to hide because we were at [an] open space," Tal Gibly told CNN. Teams of paramedics were still searching the area Sunday, per Yahoo News, so the death toll could rise.

Videos show people dancing near a large Buddha statue around dawn Saturday when they were startled by rocket fire, per NBC News. Shortly after that, Hamas militants from Gaza descended on the gathering. "Everyone just started running in all directions," Eliav Klein said. "Nobody knew where to go." Other videos show Noa Argamani, 25, pleading for her life while her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, helplessly watches her being dragged away, as he's held by other gunmen. After making it to their cars, some people had to abandon them and flee on foot while they were being shot at. Many crouched in fruit orchards.

Gili Yoskovich described hiding from gunmen in a pomelo orchard. "They were going tree by tree and shooting. I saw people were dying all around. I was very quiet. I didn't cry," she told the BBC. "It was so terrifying and we didn't know where to drive to not meet those evil … people," Gibly said. "I have a lot of friends that got lost at the forest for a lot of hours and got shot like it was a range." Jonathan Polin said his son Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, is missing, per NBC. The last messages he sent his family said: "I love you," and "I'm sorry." His father has submitted DNA samples to the authorities. (More Israel stories.)

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