At least 260 people have died following an attack last Saturday by Hamas militants on an outdoor psytrance music festival in Israel.
The attack took place at the Universo Paralello Festival in Re’im, Israel, about three miles from the Gaza Strip. According to CNN, nongovernmental Israeli rescue service ZAKA has reported that at least 260 bodies have been found at the site, in addition to an undetermined number of attendees who have been abducted by Hamas, as seen in videos circling on social media.
CNN stated that the attack began at around 6:30AM on Saturday morning with an initial barrage of rockets before gunmen arrived on site 30 minutes later and opened fire on attendees.
“We went out of the backstage and we saw a full bombardment everywhere. It was hundreds of rockets and mortars flying from everywhere and explosions all around us.”
After roughly ten minutes, security encouraged attendees to flee, with Gaster recalling, “My instinct told me don’t stop for shelter, just drive… We drove so fast we didn’t even know what was happening.”
“People were hiding in ditches, hiding in bushes, hiding in the woods, hiding wherever you can think of,” he continued. “We were getting horrible messages from friends saying, ‘Please help us, they are shooting people next to us.’”
Drone footage posted to Telegram shows the aftermath of the attack, with burned-out and shot-up vehicles all around the site.
Additional video footage shows people fleeing from the site through the rural desert on foot and in cars. Another video shows 25-year-old Noa Argamani and her boyfriend Avinatan Or being abducted by Hamas operatives.
The event, also known as Supernova and organized by Tribe of Nova, was happening in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and was the first Israeli edition of the Universo Paralello festival, which has been running in Brazil for over 23 years.
A statement from festival organizers reads:
“The Nova tribe is shocked and pained. We support and participate in the grief of the families of the missing and murdered. We are doing everything we can to assist the security forces, standing by. They are in continuous contact and are located in the field during scans and searches in order to locate the missing.”
Written in Hebrew, the statement continues, “We are full of hope and pray that good news will come to us and to you soon. In moments like these, it is important that we be strong and united, full faith, we will support each other and be there for anyone who needs it.”
The festival has since set up a database to assist in the reporting and finding of missing persons as a result of the attack. Their statement goes on to say that organizers will send information about missing people to relevant parties like the Israel Defense Force. It is estimated that around 3,500 people attended the event.
The attack was one part of a larger Hamas operation, which CNN has called “the most sustained and coordinated assault inside Israel ever carried out by Hamas militants.” 700 people have died and more than 2,000 have been injured in the attacks, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has formally declared war with Hamas, and has retaliated with airstrikes targeting Gaza, killing at least 413 people in the Gaza Strip and injuring 2,300, according to an update from Palestinian officials shared by the AP.
Featured image from Telegram via The Guardian.