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The terrorists were at our doorstep. I sat there with my son, petrified

  • Noam N.'s story

About 12 motorcycles with armed terrorists carrying Kalashnikovs and murder in their eyes

This is the story and the day that we went through. After a holiday [Simchat Torah] dinner, we were debating whether or not to go to a small party that a good friend of ours was organizing. We decided to leave at midnight, and started heading towards the south.

During the party, everything flowed and people started arriving, many friends and good people, friends who had been with me on my trip [a big trip Israelis often take after their army service], and other people we knew from parties and from life.

Noam N. and his wife

The night was particularly dark, and we were looking forward to the morning, to have fun and dance with everyone, to let loose. At around 6:00 am, a serious rocket barrage started that lit up the sky. The music stopped immediately. We were in a vast, open area and we all tried to hide behind trees. The rocket barrage continued and we decided that we had no choice but to flee, pray very hard, and drive towards the nearest migunit [small roadside concrete shelter], and hide there until everything passed.

"They shouted at us: “Get into your cars! Get into your cars! Armed terrorists are on their way and they will kill us all!’"

We started driving until we reached the migunit at the intersection in front of the Re’im army base. We hid in there with some other people, and there were explosions above us and in the fields all around us, and then we saw three people we didn’t know, a fireman and two Bedouins from Rahat, a man and a woman, and they were running down from the middle of the road as if death was chasing them. They shouted at us: “Get into your cars! Get into your cars! Armed terrorists are on their way and they will kill us all!’

Without a second thought, we all left the migunit and got into our cars. Me, my wife, the firefighter, and the Bedouin couple got into my car and three other cars that were with us. We decided to turn left at the intersection because they [the terrorists] were coming from the right, about 12 motorcycles with armed people carrying Kalashnikovs and murder in their eyes. They were about 20 meters behind us.

a bullet that hit the car

[In the photo: a bullet that hit the car during our escape, and was a few centimeters away from our heads.]

I drove as fast as I could, and we saw the Re’im army base on our left. Without hesitating we drove in the gates at 200 km/h. The gates were wide open and we turned to the right once we were inside, and drove until we reached a group of five soldiers who had just woken up and were drinking their morning coffee, and they still didn’t know what was going on outside.

I shouted at one of the soldiers who asked us what was going on. “Wake up! There are 12 motorcycles with terrorists outside the gate. They are on their way here, and they will kill us all! Where can we hide? Where's a weapon?" They thought we were crazy, and then they began to digest what we were saying, to hear the whistle of bullets, and they took us to the tracker’s room, a small plaster structure that, looking back, was the most dangerous place for us, and also the place that saved our lives.

“Shots to the roof blew out the electricity, and gas from the air conditioner started leaking into the room.”

We locked the door, turned off the lights, and within seconds, there were about 15 people inside the room, lying on the floor in complete silence, not saying a word. We heard the fighting, the live fire, shells of all kinds, stun grenades and rockets that shook the building, and miraculously, we were not wiped out. Shots to the roof blew out the electricity, and gas from the air conditioner started leaking into the room. We couldn’t breathe. We used a bucket as a toilet and were terrified that someone would hear us.

From 6:00 am to 10:00 am there was serious fighting at the base between terrorists and a few IDF soldiers. At one point, we heard the terrorists shouting in very clear voices, "Allahu Akbar, Abu Sa'id Talalal” outside the room, and in the whole area around us.

Someone from outside the room tried to open the door and couldn't. We had a key and had locked ourselves in from the beginning. It was a great miracle that they didn’t try again, and instead moved onwards.

“At one point we heard the terrorists shouting in very clear voices "Allahu Akbar, Abu Sa'id Talalal" outside the room, and in the whole area around us.”

We realized that we didn't have much of a chance, but we continued to hide and prayed for a miracle. We updated our families with messages that we love them and asking them to pray that we would get out of there alive. There we were, inside an army base, in a small room with plaster walls and blind-covered windows, with terrorists outside the window changing cartridges every minute.

We were in that room, terrified, from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm. We didn't say a word, we just hoped and prayed that the army would come and fight all the terrorists and that our soldiers would find us. Things started to calm down at around 3:00 pm, and we started hearing voices and shouts in Hebrew from our soldiers. We shouted back to them that we were alive. We had survived and they should come to get us. We understood that special forces had arrived at the base and killed the terrorists. There had been about 30 terrorists at the base, and they had murdered everyone they had found.

"There had been about 30 terrorists at the base, and they had murdered everyone they had found."

The soldiers led us to the bunker of the base. We thought that we had been the only ones here, after 10 hours in a plaster room with a key that saved our lives. In the bunker, we saw many more people who had escaped and were in the same horror movie as we were. We hugged each other as if we had known each other all our lives. We were saved by a great miracle, and had been protected by the heavens.

Towards 3:00 am of that terrible day, with complete uncertainty as to what would happen to us and how this nightmare would end, we were told that the area had been cleared of terrorists, that a convoy of vehicles could leave for home, and that we would be escorted to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. A nice couple who lived in the north came with us; they had been with us through every moment of this day, and we took them to our house until someone came from the north to pick them up. We arrived home at 4:00 am, after 27 hours of fear.

What we saw on the way back was a battlefield. Hundreds if not thousands of burnt cars, smashed on the sides of the road, dozens of scattered Hamas motorcycles, and bodies of terrorists. Hundreds of partygoers from the other party, and people who had tried to escape and are no longer with us, still scattered along the sides of the road.

What happened yesterday [sic] is hard to explain in words. What we experienced in that tracker room, only those who were there really know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the fighters, to the trackers, to all of those people who helped and supported us, so that we could get out of that battle alive.

The families of all those people who were murdered in this war, friends, soldiers, civilians, and every person who was hurt by those despicable terrorists, we share in your sorrow, and pray that all of the people who are missing or were kidnapped will return. To our friends and all of the people who were there, it is important to tell the story and to get it out, so that as many people as possible know what happened to us, and maybe there will be a change, and an effort for the kidnapped people and soldiers who are still fighting.

A day of mourning for the State of Israel. We were abandoned. Thank you all for the support and love, we are fine, thank God, and received our lives as a gift.

Thank God.

Noam N.