In a horrifying turn of events, the Supernova Israel Music Festival in southern Israel transformed from a scene of celebration into a nightmare as Palestinian militants stormed the festival grounds, opening fire on the revelers. The attack, part of a larger surprise offensive on Israel, has left over 250 people dead, according to the rescue agency Zaka.
The festival, held in the Negev desert near Kibbutz Re’im, was timed to coincide with the Jewish festival of Sukkot. The serene desert site, boasting three stages, a camping area, and a bar and food area, quickly turned into a scene of chaos and terror.
Eyewitnesses recall sirens warning of rockets at dawn, quickly followed by a hailstorm of bullets. “Fifty terrorists arrived in vans, dressed in military uniforms,” festival-goer Ortel recounted to Israel’s Channel 12. The militants infiltrated towns and villages, taking dozens of people hostage.
Those in attendance described a frantic scramble to escape. Cars were abandoned as gunmen targeted fleeing vehicles, forcing survivors to seek refuge in nearby bushes and orchards. “People were hit,” recalled Adam Barel, another festival-goer. “We hid. Everyone ran somewhere else.”
The ordeal turned even more harrowing for Esther Borochov, who told Reuters about her encounter with a gunman. After her vehicle was rammed, she was offered help by a young man. However, as she got into his car, the man was shot at point blank. Esther played dead until she was finally rescued by the Israeli military.
The survivors hid for hours, their phones on mute, as they waited for the military to arrive. “Live fire was whistling above me,” Ortel described her terrifying experience of crawling through an orange grove.
Meanwhile, families and friends are desperately searching for their loved ones. Among those missing are British security guard Jake Marlowe, German tourist Shani Louk, and Noa Argamani, who is believed to have been taken hostage.
The attack is part of a larger conflict that has claimed at least 600 Israeli lives since it began, according to local media. In response, Israel has launched a series of air strikes on Gaza, which have reportedly resulted in at least 413 Palestinian casualties.
The Supernova music festival tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the human toll of the ongoing conflict. As investigations continue, the world watches in hope for a peaceful resolution, and mourns the loss of innocent lives in what was meant to be a joyous celebration of music and unity.