How a rave turned into a frenzied massacre

At dawn on Saturday morning, Hamas gunmen introduced hundreds of rockets and breached the border concerning Gaza and Israel, dashing by farmland in direction of a psychedelic trance music pageant that had continued through the night, into the morning.

Assailants who broke as a result of barricades at the border drove down Route 232, slicing a fatal route as a result of rural kibbutzim communities. They blocked off the highway to the pageant from the north and the south, in advance of swarming the sprawling internet site on foot, films present. Then the militants encircled crowds on 3 sides like a scythe, gunning them down and forcing them to flee above fields to the east.

The Islamist militant group’s terror attack on the rave was not only really coordinated, but made for greatest carnage, the scale and scope of which is only just commencing to appear to gentle now, a single week on. Greatly armed gunmen choked off practically all avenues of escape, trapping crowds, even though simultaneously targeting shelters where folks were being hiding, killing them en masse, CNN’s analysis of a lot more than 50 movies and interviews with 13 survivors demonstrates.

1000’s of Israelis and international nationals experienced descended on the Negev desert in southern Israel for the music competition, known as Nova, marking the Jewish holiday break Sukkot and touted as an party celebrating “unity and like.”

When the booms of rockets rang out overhead all around 6:30 a.m., couple of seen in excess of the whomping digital beats. Other folks, accustomed to rocket hearth from Gaza, believed small of it. But not long soon after organizers stopped the music, and safety ushered people today toward the exits, the chaos started off.

The split-next decisions revelers built future were being kinds of existence or demise.

Many of those people who jumped in their cars and trucks and drove to nearby bomb shelters were met by militants on the roadways, who fired on them at level-blank array and lobbed grenades inside the packed bolstered concrete blocks, in accordance to videos and eyewitness testimony.

Others dispersed into the wilderness, scrambling under cactus scrub and bushes, or covering them selves with sand. They claimed they were relentlessly hunted for hours, shot at with reside gunfire and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and watched helplessly as individuals had been killed or dragged away by armed captors. Quite a few festivalgoers taken hostage by Hamas have considering that appeared in videos in Gaza.

Revelers who managed to escape ran throughout open up farm fields and together dry riverbeds, as militants fired on them, trekking quite a few miles to the basic safety of cities even further from the border. Most eyewitnesses explained to CNN they hid for six to 10 hrs, prior to they managed to escape – or authorities and crisis services arrived. Other people said they survived by pretending to be lifeless.

Drawing on video investigation, eyewitness testimony, satellite imagery and reporting by teams on the ground, CNN reconstructed the terror attack, which has emerged as one of the deadliest episodes in Hamas’ unprecedented, multi-pronged assault on Israel by land, sea and air.

CNN has determined at minimum four bomb shelters on Route 232 – two in Re’im, a person in Be’eri and a person by Alumim – wherever dozens of men and women had been killed. Extra than 260 bodies ended up found at the Nova festival web-site by itself, according to Israeli rescue service Zaka, but based on CNN’s investigation of various focal factors of the massacre, the complete death toll could be even increased.


For this investigation, CNN examined more than 50 videos filmed by festivalgoers and passersby before, in the course of and after the massacre at Nova competition in Re’im, Israel, on Oct 7, 2023. Most of these had been acquired straight from festival survivors, whilst some had been collected from public Telegram teams, such as South 1st Responders.

A group of journalists with open-source teaching verified the films by geolocating them where by feasible and checking the metadata for timestamps and GPS coordinates. For those without having timestamps, we designed estimates of the time of working day primarily based on the daylight, employing the web page SunCalc. CNN built a map centered on all those confirmed videos to fully grasp how the attack unfolded, establish the movement of Hamas militants, and the many ways in which civilians have been hunted down as they tried out to flee.

The group utilized a variety of mapping services to assist locate the movies, including satellite imagery from an formal Israeli governing administration website, Earth Labs, Maxar Technologies, Google maps and Google avenue see. Reporting from CNN’s Nic Robertson and Muhammed Darwish from the site was also used to corroborate spots and activities.

CNN interviewed 12 survivors of the festival, pinpointing themes that matched both equally the testimonies and video proof. A single vital obtaining was the systematic killing of these sheltering in close by bomb shelters. The video clips disclosed several incidents of survivors fleeing to bomb shelters and staying killed there.