‘Can someone answer?’ Video shows futile hunt for survivors among bodies at rave

Bodycam footage shows first responder’s attempts to find someone alive at Nova music festival, where some 260 people were slaughtered and more kidnapped to Gaza

The Nova party where hundreds of Israelis were murdered and kidnapped by Hamas terrorists who infiltrated to Israel on October 7, 2023, November 2, 2023 (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)
The Nova party where hundreds of Israelis were murdered and kidnapped by Hamas terrorists who infiltrated to Israel on October 7, 2023, November 2, 2023 (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

AP — An Israeli security officer could be seen drawing a pistol, his hand shaking violently. Hours earlier that day, October 7, these desolate fields in southern Israel had teemed with thousands of young people dancing to electronic music under the night sky and camping out in tents or mobile homes. Now, it was silent.

The officer peered quickly into one of the trailers. “Who’s inside?” he called out in Hebrew, his voice pained. It was empty. He moved onto the rest of the festival grounds, searching for signs of life following the Hamas rampage through the outdoor concert. “It’s the police!” he yelled again and again, his voice rising in panic. “Are there any wounded?”

Silence. The officer moved to the outdoor bar. Hovering over the Coca‐Cola coolers and beer-tap levers, he shouted louder, “Wounded?” His camera tilted down.

There were more than a dozen bodies — some encrusted with dirt, others riddled with bullets. They were strewn around the bar and piled on top of each other, hair matted with dark blood, limbs twisted at an unnatural angle. The short shorts with fringes, cut-off T-shirts and stylish white sneakers were reminders that these mangled bodies had been young, carefree partygoers just before dawn.

The harrowing scene unfolds in a roughly 100-second clip of police body camera footage [Warning: Graphic] released Saturday by a first-responder team in southern Israel. It was a chilling depiction of what rescuers encountered in the wake of Hamas’s unprecedented attack on the sleepy Israeli farm communities.

One of Hamas’s first targets was the Nova music festival near Kibbutz Be’eri, only five kilometers (3 miles) from the Gaza Strip. After surging over the border, Hamas gunmen emptied rounds of live ammunition on the revelers, including hand grenades and mortar fire, killing over 260 people in what has become the biggest civilian massacre in Israeli history.

An aerial picture shows the abandoned site of the weekend assault by Hamas terrorists on the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im in the Negev desert, southern Israel, October 10, 2023. (Jack GUEZ / AFP)

The body camera footage — and other horrifying videos circulating on social media along with stories from survivors who staggered across fields to find refuge in nearby orchards — add details to what happened that Saturday.

Israel is still in mourning over the 1,400 people killed in the shock October 7 assault at the rave as well as nearby communities, most of them civilians including babies and the elderly, who were killed with horrifying brutality. Forensic specialists are still working to identify more victims. Families are still scouring for any bits of news about the over 240 Israelis taken hostage to Gaza, including young Israelis from the festival.

The magnitude of the devastation from Hamas’s cross-border assault is still setting in for Israel a month later as the Israeli military pursues a war aimed at toppling Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and destroying its military capabilities while avoiding civilian casualties. According to the terror group’s health officials, more than 9,400 Palestinians have been killed amid the Israeli offensive in Gaza, but it is unclear how many are civilians and how many are combatants.

After stumbling upon the bodies beneath the bar, the Israeli officer became desperate. “Is there someone with a sign of life? Give us a sign of life,” he pleaded. His voice was no longer frantic, but thrumming with sorrow.

“Somebody, please! Can someone answer?”

There was no answer.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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