The hundreds of younger Israelis had spent the night time dancing at an out of doors rave, many clad in tie-dye T-shirts and crop tops.
They ended the night time in a bloodbath.
Simply after daybreak on Saturday, lots of of Palestinian militants bulldozed their means by the barricades between Gaza and Israel, drove into scores of Israeli cities alongside the border and sped by the farmland the place the rave was reaching its dawn climax.
The militants gunned down greater than 100 ravers and kidnapped others, in response to two senior Israeli officers, as they sprinted by the open fields. Video verified by The New York Occasions confirmed militants driving off on a bike with an Israeli lady squeezed between them, screaming as her boyfriend was marched off on foot, his arm wrenched behind his again.
Those that survived usually did so by hiding in close by bushes, a few of them for hours.
Bullets whistled overhead and pictures resounded throughout, mentioned Andrey Peairie, 35, one of many survivors. He described crawling as much as the highest of a close-by hill to get a greater sense of what was occurring.
“Smoke and flames and gunfire,” mentioned Mr. Peairie, a tech employee. “I’ve a navy background, however I by no means was in a state of affairs like this.”
So started one of many bloodiest weekends in Israeli and Palestinian historical past, the total particulars of which began to emerge on Sunday as survivors recounted probably the most complicated and brazen assault on their nation for the reason that 1973 Arab-Israeli struggle.
About 700 Israelis had been killed and a minimum of 150 taken hostage by Palestinian militants, in response to a preliminary evaluation shared by a senior Israeli navy official. Videos circulated of kids and grandparents kidnapped from their houses in Israel and roadsides strewn with useless our bodies.
The assault, staggering in its scale, prompted a fierce counterattack from Israel that has killed a minimum of 413 Gazans in missile strikes and gun battles, in response to Gazan well being officers.
The violence started familiarly sufficient — with rocket fireplace from Gaza, simply after daybreak.
Amir Tibon and his neighbors in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, a village that stands a couple of hundred yards from Gaza, have grow to be accustomed to frequent rocket fireplace from militants.
Bomb shelters are put in in each residence within the kibbutz, and residents are used to speeding inside them each few weeks.
However quickly after Mr. Tibon, 35, took shelter on Saturday together with his spouse and two younger daughters, he knew that there was one thing very totally different about this assault.
The sound of gunfire.
Then got here a morbid realization.
“There have been terrorists contained in the kibbutz, inside our neighborhood and — in some unspecified time in the future — outdoors our window,” Mr. Tibon recalled. “We might hear them speak. We might hear them run. We might hear them capturing their weapons at our home, at our home windows.”
On the village WhatsApp group, neighbors had been posting frantic messages. “Individuals had been saying, ‘They’re in my home, they’re making an attempt to interrupt into the protected room!’” recalled Mr. Tibon, a journalist for Haaretz, one of many nation’s most outstanding information shops.
Messages from fellow reporters revealed much more terrifying information. They mentioned that Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, had infiltrated scores of Israeli border cities, and that it might take time for the Israeli Military to succeed in the village.
Not lengthy afterward, Mr. Tibon’s cell reception began to interrupt up.
13 miles to the east, deep inside Israeli territory, Meitav Hadad and her brother Itamar had no concept that Israel had been invaded.
The siblings had switched their telephones off for the Jewish Sabbath.
Abruptly, pictures rang out of their neighborhood of Ofakim, a small metropolis of 33,000 residents in southern Israel.
Mr. Hadad, 22, an off-duty soldier, grabbed his rifle and rushed into the road. Ms. Hadad, 18, a scholar at a spiritual seminary, adopted him.
They anticipated maybe a single shooter, the type of lone-wolf attacker that incessantly targets Israeli civilians, Ms. Hadad mentioned.
However what they discovered was much more stunning: A squad of Palestinian militants, armed with rifles and a shoulder-born rocket launcher, had infiltrated their quiet neighborhood, miles from the border with Gaza.
“We didn’t perceive what was occurring,” Ms. Hadad mentioned.
Terrified, she hid in a playground.
However her brother pressed on, becoming a member of forces with two different armed residents, cellphone video confirmed. He started firing on the militants, hitting two, earlier than his gun jammed, forcing him to take cowl, he mentioned.
As he retreated, the militants shot him 3 times — as soon as within the liver, as soon as within the leg and the third time within the again.
He was shedding blood quick, with nowhere to cover.
Determined for shelter, he started hobbling from home to accommodate, making an attempt to influence residents to take him inside, Mr. Hadad mentioned. Nobody dared to open up, fearing he was himself a Palestinian fighter.
To make himself appear much less menacing, he stashed his gun in a fuse field. Lastly, a pair opened their door and hurried him inside. The three of them stemmed his wounds by tearing up his denims and utilizing them as a tourniquet, his sister mentioned.
As Israeli safety forces started to retake management of the city, two cops arrived to take Mr. Hadad to hospital. They heaved him again to the road, flagging down a passing automotive.
By coincidence, it was Mr. Hadad’s mom, Tali.
After he had didn’t return residence, the elder Ms. Hadad had damaged her observance of the Sabbath and borrowed a neighbor’s automotive to seek for her son.
Now, she was there to rescue him.
Fifty miles to the north, Mr. Tibon’s mother and father, Noam and Gali Tibon, additionally got down to rescue their household — leaving their residence in Tel Aviv, leaping into their jeep and heading south.
Vacation spot: Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
The couple had only a single pistol to guard them, Noam Tibon mentioned. However they weren’t going to face by whereas their household was in peril.
“We understood that if we is not going to go and get them, no person will,” mentioned Noam Tibon, a retired common. “If there are such a lot of terrorists inside Nahal Oz, one thing has collapsed.”
As they drove south, the couple started to come across police roadblocks, the place officers ordered them to show round.
“We mentioned, ‘Hear, we’ve children and grandkids in peril,’” Noam Tibon mentioned. “And we simply pushed ahead.”
As they neared the Gaza border, they started to come across revelers fleeing the rave, sprinting down the street, blood staining their garments. The couple gave them a raise to a close-by metropolis. The roadside and close by farmland had been strewn with useless our bodies, Noam Tibon mentioned.
Just a few miles from Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Noam left Ms. Tibon at a much less harmful location earlier than touring onward with a wounded soldier they’d encountered on the street.
However earlier than they reached the village, they ran right into a gunfight between Israeli troopers and Palestinian militants. The 2 males jumped out and joined the fray.
Mr. Tibon mentioned he then ferried two wounded Israelis to security, handing them and his jeep over to his spouse, a historian, who drove them north to the hospital.
Mr. Tibon headed south once more, given a raise by a buddy, one other former common, whom he mentioned he had run into by likelihood.
On the outskirts of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, he mentioned, they joined forces with an Israeli commando unit that was about to attempt to retake the village.
After heading inside, they discovered the streets strewn with our bodies, some Palestinian and a few Israeli, Noam Tibon mentioned.
Then they started clearing the village of militants, home by home.
Inside their protected room, Amir Tibon and his household might hear them coming.
An hour later, there was a bang on the wall of their bomb shelter, Amir Tibon mentioned.
“And we heard my father say, ‘I’m right here.’”
Myra Noveck contributed reporting from Jerusalem; Hiba Yazbek from Nazareth, Israel; and Ronen Bergman from Ramat Hasharon, Israel.