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I realized that if we stayed there, we would die

  • Ofek D.'s story

Like pigs waiting for slaughter. We felt helpless, we saw the final end coming

I really debated a lot whether or not to write this story. And despite everything I want to share this with you, or rather to vent to you our story from that Saturday. 

It all started when we got to the party near Kibbutz Reim. We got to the party around 5 in the morning. We met many of our friends there, we smiled, hugged, laughed. Our main goal was to celebrate and have fun. Towards sunrise, people started to run away from one of the open areas. 

At that moment, we still didn’t understand what was happening. We started to hear explosions and saw hundreds of rockets exploding near us and above us. The police in the area told us to lie on the ground. After a few minutes of lying flat on the ground, the police started to evacuate us from the area. We started leaving the area and escaped for as long as we could. We were among the first to leave. 

“They hit my window and smashed it at point blank range”

One hundred meters from the exit of the party, what waited for us was incomprehensible. Four pickup trucks, with dozens of terrorists on both sides, shooting at us, volleys with submachine guns, shells, everything you can imagine, double that. There was nowhere to escape to, nowhere to go. 

A few cars that left ahead of us were stopped and the people in them were taken out.

At that moment, we didn’t understand why cars were standing by the sides of the road, until it all started to seep in when they hit my window and smashed it at point blank range.

I stepped on the gas pedal as hard as I could. We saw bodies lying on the ground as we were driving through them as we crouched down, driving quickly, while the enemy was shooting holes in the car from all directions. By some miracle we went through that first encounter. We thought it was behind us and we were amazed to discover that our story had just begun. 

Just before the turn to go up north, another pair of pickup trucks was waiting for us, with dozens of terrorists of course shooting at us. I couldn’t take the chance that we would be injured while driving through them, so I drove in the opposite direction, while all my windows were smashed and my tires were punctured. 

“We managed to move ahead a few dozen meters until we got up on the sidewalk and that completely finished the car.“

A few meters from that right turn we entered the city of Sderot.  

We felt we had to get out of the car and find a place to hide. The car was already driving on the rims and the brakes were gone. We got to a traffic circle in the industrial area and there our world darkened. Another pickup truck, full of heavy artillery, was in front of us with the only thing between us being the traffic circle. We were on one side and they were on the other. We saw darkness, we saw the bitter end.  My partner, Liad, pulled my head down as they sprayed us with bullets and I just stepped on the gas pedal. We managed to move ahead a few dozen meters until we got up on the sidewalk and that completely finished the car. 

We quickly got out of the car and hid behind a Savannah behind us, a three-meter fence and walls closing around us from two sides. 

Like pigs waiting for slaughter. We felt helpless, we saw the final end coming. And again we were saved by a miracle. The terrorists that we saw at that traffic circle decided to keep going forward rather than chase us. 

[My Hyundai was broken down, and shot from every direction, through the engine and the windows as well. ]

The fear seeped into every part of our bodies, and we were cut by shards and glass, but we found the strength and climbed the high fence and entered an acid factory near us. I lifted my partner as she was on my shoulders so she could get over the fence. We found ourselves hiding in the yard of that factory, sitting in a square meter of oil, while the factory was active and noisy. 

“Mortar bombs and the sounds of submachine guns, at the same time as rockets flying over our heads and falling so close to us as we couldn’t get to a protected space”

We had no idea if they [the terrorists] were coming after us, or if they were near us. After a few hours of fear, the factory stopped working and everything was quiet. We decided to change our location, because we were close to the fence that we had earlier climbed. As we went through the factory looking for a safer place, we collected everything that could help us and everything we needed to protect ourselves. 

2 large wallpaper knives on the ground

Leg with scratches

 Wounds on the hand

The gun fights were ongoing all around us without pause, shouting in Arabic, and sounds that would not put Afghanistan to shame. Mortar bombs and the sounds of submachine guns, at the same time as rockets flying over our heads and falling so close to us as we couldn’t get to a protected space. All this time we are intensely afraid. Afraid that terrorists will come to hide where we are hiding. We took anything that could be used as a weapon and sat down behind a rusty container and waited for the savior.    

After a few hours behind the container, experiencing a rain of missiles over our heads and shrapnel falling all around, we had to get into a closed place. I managed to break into the back entrance of the factory. Inside the factory we heard voices in Arabic. We couldn't take the risk that it was a terrorist and we left the factory quietly, as the voices were getting closer to us. 

My warrior partner and I climbed a sharp fence, which cut both of us on our thighs. We landed in a paint factory, where there was no place to hide. The place was too small to hide in. We were forced to climb and get to the next factory. It was a plastics factory with a really high fence from our side, but from the other side you could spot our location. Luckily for us, there was a place to hide behind a water tower in the factory. We went inside a Sukkah there. 

Hundreds of times we called the police, MDA [Israeli ambulance service] and firefighters. Not one of them came to resume us! Even when we said we were seriously wounded. They told us to try to hide, and ‘good luck’.

All our friends tried to help us and tried to send divisions to us or police cars, anything that could rescue us and get us out of the firing zone. No one arrived! We sat in that factory for 12 hours while gun fights were surrounding us, without pause. In the meanwhile, we were informed through the Hamal app [app for urgent reports] about what was happening around us and were horrified to discover that our close friends were kidnapped, murdered, and have gone missing. 

We couldn’t live with the feeling that our families would come into the line of fire trying to rescue us and something could possibly happen to them, so we chose not to tell them. From 6:30 in the morning till 8 in the evening we sat there. Around 8 in the evening, my cell phone battery was dying, while my partner’s phone battery had long since died. We planned to walk through the streets of Sderot and save ourselves, on streets where there was fighting on every corner. Out of nowhere an ambulance arrived to rescue us, thanks to Liad’s brother Eden. He understood what was happening and came as far as the blockade closest to where we were, and pressured them in such a way that they could not remain indifferent.   

We were saved by a miracle, and not just once. God watched over us and gave us strength to continue, even when our cell phone batteries ran out and we had no hope. I want to thank the ambulance driver that rescued us and picked us up, knowing there were terrorists in the area. 

I want to pray for all those people who are behind enemy lines being held hostage, that they will come back immediately! I pray that all their families find the strength to keep going and to be positive. I am sorry for the families who have lost their loved ones. It was a hard day for each and every family in Israel. 

I want to thank all my close friends who took care of us, after going through their own stories, and didn’t stop until we were rescued. 

God saved our lives several times and in several places. Thanks to our Father in heaven. 

Ofek D.