Hamas attack: Music festival in Israel transformed into night of terror

The attack in Israel caught civilians and concertgoers by surprise.

It was supposed to be a concert celebrating “friends, love and infinite freedom.” Instead, a trance music festival in Israel on Saturday became a night of terror when Hamas militants attacked the area.

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The Tribe of Nova festival, near Kibbutz Reim, was one of the first targets for Hamas militants as they launched their attack on Israel early Saturday, The Washington Post reported. Militants swarmed through the concert area, shooting into the crowd and grabbing hostages, according to the newspaper.

The concert was attended by about 3,500 people, about three miles from the border of the Gaza Strip, The New York Times reported.

According to Zaka, the Israeli rescue service, at least 260 bodies have been recovered so far from the festival site, The Associated Press reported.

Witnesses said the first rockets were fired at the venue just before dawn, the Post reported.

Many of the concertgoers were oblivious to the explosions, with others, who were used to rockets being launched from nearby Gaza, ignoring them.

“We heard sirens and rockets, tons of rockets,” Millet Ben Haim, 27, told the newspaper.

Haim told the Post he had just posed with a group of friends moments before the attack.

But then the music stopped and a voice blared from the loudspeakers.

“Guys, we have red alert,” the voice warned, in a video obtained by the newspaper. “Red alert.”

Then gunshots rang out. Hundreds of concertgoers began sprinting, hoping to find shelter, NBC News reported.

“There was a traffic jam of cars trying to escape,” Eliav Klein told the news outlet.

“We started running; we didn’t know where to go,” Ben Haim told the Post. “Nobody knew what to do.

“Every direction we ran we had more people shooting at us; we were running for two hours trying to escape. We started crawling in bushes. Eventually I realized I couldn’t run anymore.”

“We didn’t even have any place to hide because we were at (an) open space,” concertgoer Tal Gibly told CNN. “Everyone got so panicked and started to take their stuff.”

Videos verified by the Times showed a woman being kidnapped by militants on Saturday during a wave of ground incursions into Israel from Gaza.

The footage, which was posted to Telegram, showed a group of men driving away on a motorcycle with 25-year-old Noa Argamani in their custody. The video then pans to another group of militants holding Argamani’s boyfriend, Avinatan Or, with an arm pinned behind his back.

Hamas says hostages are being held in tunnels and other secure locations in Gaza. It is still unclear how many hostages were taken from the festival, the Post reported.

In a statement posted on Instagram, festival organizers said they were doing “everything in their power to assist the security forces,” the Times reported. They added that festival staff members are carrying out “scans and searches in order to locate the missing.”