Those we have lost

Sgt. 1st Class Alona Astapenko, 25: Police officer fought at rave

Killed battling Hamas terrorists at the Supernova music festival on October 7

Staff Sgt. Eliona Astafniko, killed fighting Hamas terrorists at the Supernova festival on October 7, 2023 (courtesy)
Staff Sgt. Eliona Astafniko, killed fighting Hamas terrorists at the Supernova festival on October 7, 2023 (courtesy)

Sgt. First Class Alona Astapenko, 25, a police officer with the Ofakim Station from Netivot, was killed in a battle with Hamas terrorists near Re’im on October 7.

She is survived by her parents Irina and Yuri, her sister Victoria and her boyfriend Evyatar. Astapenko was laid to rest in Netivot on October 10.

Astapenko was working as security at the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im early Saturday morning, when Hamas terrorists stormed the party, killing at least 360 people.

When hundreds of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip began flying overhead around 6:30 am, Astapenko and her fellow officers rushed to evacuate partygoers at the outdoor rave. She was shot and killed by a squad of terrorists that opened fire while police were giving first aid to a wounded party attendee.

Sgt. First Class Sagie Abitbol told Channel 14 that he and Astapenko headed to the main road amid reports of shooting there and began treating gunshot victims, as two jeeps full of more than a dozen terrorists arrived.

“Alona calmly, with great bravery, alongside me, shoulder to shoulder” began battling against the terrorists, Abitbol said, as they tried to provide cover to the wounded partygoer. They decided to run for a water pipe to take up a position against the terrorists, “and as we ran Alona was wounded, fell next to me. I kept fighting — her next to me gave me even more strength to fight to try to save her.” But he could not manage to save her in time.

Born in Belarus, Astapenko moved to Israel with her family at the age of two in 2000 and studied at the Kfar Silver youth village near Ashkelon. She served in the Israel Defense Forces as an instructor in the Artillery Corps.

In February 2023, after completing her university studies, she joined the police and was stationed at Ofakim.

Astapenko was described by the Ashkelon Academic College, where she received her bachelor’s degree, as a “beautiful, smiling, happy, caring and brave” young woman.

Yisrael Beytenu party chief Avigdor Liberman eulogized the slain officer on Facebook, after paying a mourner’s visit to her mother, Irina Astapenko.

“While Irena was trying to piece together scraps of information about her daughter’s fate on that Black Saturday, a rocket hit the apartment opposite hers, took three lives, and destroyed the building she lived in,” Liberman wrote. “Hours later she received the grave news — Alona, aged 25, a police officer with the Ofakim Station, an outstanding policewoman, fell in battle with terrorists that same cursed Saturday. Alona stood up fiercely to dozens of Hamas terrorists and saved many lives.”

“She died that we may live. A true heroine. RIP,” he added.

Eden Kat wrote on Facebook that her death is “a huge loss. A girl with the most pure heart I know, from the first moment that I met you I knew you were a good person.”

Ben Ozeri wrote on social media, “I can’t believe we lost such an incredible person like you. Thank you for who you were… a true hero that the world lost.”

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