When I arrived at the all-night rave near the border with Gaza the party was in full swing. It was 5 a.m. and thousands of revelers had gathered in the desert. A few hours later, hundreds would be dead or injured, women raped, dozens of people missing — some snatched across the border.
The first sign of trouble came at 6 a.m. We heard the gunshots before we saw the terrorists. We ran to our car to escape. Bullets flew past our heads. Already there were many wounded and dead. But our road out of hell was blocked: hundreds of cars were all trying to leave — and off-road desert paths were impossible to drive on. We abandoned the car and ran for cover.
The terrorists kept coming after us, searching every possible hiding place, firing guns, and throwing hand grenades. My friends and I ran from one hiding place to another, but nowhere was safe. Most places were too exposed — and the terrorists found us. We were surrounded by them — they kept pushing us towards the Gaza border.
The terrorists kept coming after us
At one point, I hid with around fifty other partygoers. It was then that terrorists fired an RPG missile directly at us. Many were killed. I was hit with shrapnel in my arm. I was bleeding and heard ringing in my ears. All I could think was, “I just want to live.”
The terrorists started walking between the injured and the dead, kicking people to see if they were indeed dead. I lay on the ground, terrified, convinced that this was the end. I pretended to be dead and made my breath shallow so they wouldn’t notice me breathing. When the terrorists finally moved on, I ran along with five others and we hid in thick bushes. We lay there, not moving, barely breathing, where we hoped the terrorists could not find us.
By that point, I had been on the move for six hours. Still there were no soldiers or police officers in sight. I began to lose hope that I would ever make it back home alive.
We found a phone on the ground and called someone who was with the police. The army and police were unable to reach us, we were told. Instead, we were directed to a meeting point where army forces were present. We left our hiding place, terrified, and walked quietly towards the road, where we saw soldiers waiting for us. I broke down in tears. As the army vehicle was driving us to safety, we could see many dead bodies scattered on the ground. I thanked God that I was alive.
I lost a good friend that day, who was, like so many others, killed by terrorists at the rave. Many partygoers still have not contacted families. Some of the missing may have been abducted by Hamas; they might be dead or alive. Relatives are frustrated by the lack of support and information from the authorities. They have been searching for any shred of information, combing through horrific and gruesome photos and videos uploaded onto social media, many by Hamas, to try and recognize their loved ones, because, as many of them have expressed in the media over the past two days, not knowing is worse than knowing.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.