‘The music stopped and the nightmare began’: Israeli reveller reveals how she smeared herself in blood and pretended to lay dead for three hours as Hamas festival massacre unfolded
A survivor the of the Israeli festival massacre has shared her harrowing experience, after smearing herself in blood and pretending to be dead for three hours in order to survive.
May Hayat, 30, was among the crowd at the Tribe of Nova festival in Re’im when Hamas gunmen stormed the site and opened fire, killing at least 260 people.
She had been working at the festival, three miles from the Gaza border, with her girlfriend Liron – and the pair had been ‘having so much fun’ together.
But she recalled the moment the music stopped and ‘the nightmare’ began, when the terrorists attacked the festival and started gunning down innocent revellers.
Ms Hayat said on Instagram that as she made her way towards their trailer to watch the ‘beautiful sunrise’ on Saturday morning, she noticed rockets started flying over their heads.
May Hayat, 30, was among the crowd at the Tribe of Nova festival in Re’im when Hamas gunmen stormed the site and opened fire, killing at least 260 people
May (pictured) recalled the moment the music stopped and ‘the nightmare’ began, when the terrorists attacked the festival and started gunning down innocent revellers
The Israeli rescue service Zaka said at least 260 bodies have been removed from the festival site. Pictured: Partygoers fleeing the festival scene on Saturday
She said: ‘The music stopped and we waited for the situation to calm down so we could go home.
‘Suddenly I get a phone call from a friend who says that she and everyone who’s started driving back home from the party is being shot’, she said.
Ms Hayat then explained how she ran towards the police officers closest to her, asking them to go and reinforce those being attacked.
READ MORE: Haunting images reveal chilling aftermath of Nova music festival where 260 people were slaughtered, after volunteers removed hundreds of bodies
But after realising there were more terrorists coming in, they were powerless. ‘There was one big chaos’, she said.
She continued: ‘We went to hide in the police command room and we all sat down on the floor. Some people cried, some shouted, some had anxiety attacks and some were completely silent.
‘I hugged everyone who cried and couldn’t catch their breath, and Liron helped the wounded while we were under attack.
‘The noise of the gunshots began to get closer, the policemen stood in the doorway ready with their weapons and looked at each other with a frightened look and shouted to “storm!”
‘They turned to us just before leaving the room and told us to “run and pray.”’
Ms Hayat then explained how each officer was shot one after the other, with bursts of gunfire entering the room.
‘For a moment there was a shocking silence’, she said, before she made a run for it out of the danger area.
‘We left the room running to the battlefield and whilst I’m running, I turned back and I saw Liron. She stayed there and didn’t come with us. We tried our best and ran as fast as possible until we reached an ambulance and hid behind it. The shots came from every direction.
‘I saw someone in the distance shouting “come here, it’s safer”. I ran towards him, but no one came with me’, she recalled.
Ms Hayat explained how she and another festival go-er then started running together until they saw a vehicle approaching them. It was one of the party members who offered to try and help them escape.
Sharing the testimony on her Instagram, Ms Hayat revealed: ‘The music stopped and the nightmare began’
The aftermath of an attack on a music festival by Palestinian militants, near Kibbutz Reim in the Negev desert in southern Israel on October 8
In a fit of frenzy, the car’s wheels got stuck in the sand, with gunfire coming from all directions, she said.
‘We ran out of the car until we noticed a hole in the ground. We entered inside, held hands and prayed. It was just the two of us.
‘I told him “Do you know the stories of the Holocaust in which people pretended to be dead so they wouldn’t be noticed? This is what is going to happen to us.”‘
The other party attendee then helped cover themselves in sand, with the pair being silent for about an hour, she said.
READ MORE: Bodies of 260 revellers killed in Israel festival massacre are piled on top of each other as Hamas attack aftermath is laid bare: Survivors describe gunmen going ‘tree by tree’ executing victims – with father who rushed to save daughter among missing
But ‘they found us’, Ms Hayat said, as eight terrorists gathered around the two civilians.
‘I closed my eyes tightly because I was sure they were going to shoot us. But then they grabbed us and lifted us from the ground. They took our phones and everything we had in our pockets. They announced in their walkie-talkie “We have two more abductees”‘.
One of the terrorists then began talking to Ms Hayat in arabic, to which she responded that she ‘didn’t understand’.
‘I didn’t shout, I didn’t go crazy, I became apathetic’, she said.
She continued: ‘He put his jacket on me while the rest of them looked at me like I was a piece of meat because I was wearing a tank top.
‘In one hand, he holds my hand, and in the other, he holds a missile’.
The group started walking, with Ms Hayat noticing that they were looking on the ground for things like ‘cigarettes and drinks’.
‘So I helped them’, she said. ‘I didn’t want to resist. They guy who was with me didn’t stop crying and begging for his life’, she added.
‘I tried to explain to him that he needs to stop crying, “It annoys them, stop crying and everything will be fine”, I said.
‘They had knives and hammers. At first he listened to me, but very quickly he returned to his initial reaction and fell on his knees, begging for his life.
‘And then – he didn’t scream anymore. They murdered him in front of my eyes’, she added.
Ms Hayat was then left alone with the Hamas terrorists, as they tried to taunt her, hitting her over the head and approaching her with a knife.
She explained: ‘The terrorist who held my hand shouted at them and “took me under his wing”.
As they reached the cars, Ms Hayat realised they wouldn’t start. ‘The terrorist with the knife, the one who a moment ago murdered the guy who was with me, said “If you try and escape I will kill you like I killed your friend”, she said.
‘I remained standing, and the terrorist who “took me under his wing” told me I can go. I didn’t know what to do, and just started running. I ran like crazy’.
Ms Hayat harrowingly recalled: ‘I hid under the stage of the party and laid down next to three dead people. I smeared myself with blood that dripped from one of the bodies next to me and pretended to be dead for three hours.
Hamas fighters circumvented Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip by flying in via paraglider, according to the Israeli military (pictured: an alleged paraglider crossing into Israel)
‘Three hours that felt like an eternity. Three hours where terrorists passed me, shooting everywhere and burning every possible piece of land, while rockets floated above my head. For three hours I lay among corpses, wondering what would happen to me.’
Ms Hayat then heard people in the distance speaking Hebrew. She recalled screaming for help, as army soldiers arrived to take her to a trailer with paramedics, alongside other survivors.
She said: ‘So it’s true. They murdered my soul, and I hope that one day I will be able to heal it. But Liron, remember Liron from the beginning of the story? My girlfriend. They killed her. They killed my hero and unfortunately no one will ever be able to return her to me in my lifetime.’
At least 260 people were killed at the festival in southern Israel on Saturday.
Countless more were injured in attacks as armed Hamas militants swept through.
Some 3,500 people had reportedly been at the festival, though reports vary.
Gunmen infiltrated the festival in vans while others descended from motorised paragliders.
Hamas took an unknown number of hostages from the festival.
Fears have grown for the safety of British national Jake Marlowe, 26, missing since Saturday.
He was working at the Supernova Festival, near the Gaza Strip, when Palestinian militants stormed onto the site at the crack of dawn, firing rockets and sending in terrorists armed with guns to attack.
More than 100 people have been taken hostage since the incursion began on Saturday.
Thomas Helm, Jerusalem Correspondent for The National, told MailOnline on Saturday locals had been expecting a rocket attack, but were stunned by the nature of the full assault.
‘What’s so shocking about this one is the creativity. People were planning for a large rocket barrage. That’s what we have been worrying about for a long time. But for people to be flying in on hang-gliders, it’s unreal,’ he said.
READ MORE: Hamas announces it will begin to EXECUTE hostages and post video evidence online for every Israeli airstrike as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders Israel’s Defence Forces to besiege Gaza
‘What it does more than anything else is shatters this sense that Israel… whenever you speak to an Israeli General they’re obsessed with deterrence. And they worry that their deterrence has been diminished in recent months. But this shatters it.’
Israel has responded with devastating airstrikes in the last couple of days and today announced it would push through a ‘complete siege’ of Gaza, affecting 2.3mn people living on the Strip.
Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defence minister, said today: ‘There will be no electricity, food or fuel [delivered to Gaza].
‘We are fighting barbaric [terrorists] and will respond accordingly.’
Some 300,000 reservists have been called up as Israel gathers momentum.
With the siege, the country is now ‘trying to prepare their backers’ for the possibility that ‘this is going to be a long war’, Helm told MailOnline this evening.
At the same time, continued strikes on Jerusalem today indicate Hamas still has large stockpiles of premium weapons, he said.
‘The thinking has been that [Hamas] launched their [strongest missiles] in the first barrage. But if they are still hitting Jerusalem now, it shows they still have a desire to escalate.’
Hamas has responded to mounting airstrikes by threatening to execute its hostages and share evidence online.
Qatar has since sought to mediate de-escalation talks with Israel and Hamas, aiming to secure a deal whereby both sides release captives.
The ongoing negotiations, which Qatar has been conducting in coordination with the United States since Saturday night, are ‘moving positively’ a source told Reuters earlier today.
‘We are in constant contact with all sides at the moment. Our priorities are to end the bloodshed, release the prisoners and make sure the conflict is contained with no regional spillover,’ foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said.
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