‘She was so frightened, but I couldn’t protect her’: Father of Israeli student kidnapped from dance festival breaks down in tears after seeing footage of his ‘petrified’ daughter begging for her life on back of Hamas truck
- Yaacov Argamani was inconsolable as he recalled moment daughter was taken
The father of an Israeli student kidnapped from a dance festival by Hamas terrorists broke down in tears as he watched distressing footage of his ‘petrified’ daughter begging for her life.
A video showed Noa Argamani, 25, sitting on the back of a militant’s motorcycle, with her outstretched arms pointing towards her helpless boyfriend.
She screams ‘Don’t kill me! No, no, no’ – but the gunman speeds off. Noa hasn’t been seen since.
Her heartbroken father, Yaacov Argamani, was inconsolable and broke down in tears as he recalled the moment he first watched the video.
Speaking through tears, he said: ‘I was hoping this is a mistake that it’s not true and maybe. And then in the hospital a guy asked me if i wanted to see. I said yes and then I know for sure it is Noa… she was so petrified, so scared.’
Noa’s father, Yaacov Argamani, was inconsolable as he told of the moment he first saw the video of his daughter being snatched by Hamas militants
The heartbroken father broke down in tears said his daughter was ‘petrified’ and ‘so scared’
He then begins to uncontrollably sob. ‘I was always so protective but in this moment I couldn’t protect her,’ he told Israeli broadcaster Channel 12 News.
READ MORE: Israeli woman describes terrifying ordeal as she played dead for three hours while Hamas terrorists massacred fleeing revellers who ran straight from festival attack.. towards waiting gunmen
‘All my life since she was born I have tried to protect and hug her, support and love her. I wish I could at this difficult moment at least encourage her or say something to her.’
Noa’s aunt, Yaffe Ohad, said they were ‘crazy with worry’. She said: ‘We know that Noa was kidnapped, probably in the hours of the beginning of the fighting.’
Noa’s boyfriend, Avi Nathan, distraught and helpless, is left behind in the desert. He too is missing.
Widely shared on social media, the footage of Noa’s kidnapping is almost too distressing to bear. ‘Imagine what it is like for her family,’ said her university roommate, Amir Moadi. They found out she had been snatched only when they chanced upon the footage online.
Israeli festivalgoer Gili Yoskovich described the horrifying moment Hamas gunmen stormed the dance festival and started opening fire on anybody they saw as people fled for their lives.
A terrified Gili hid under a tree shaking for three hours as bullets whizzed around her as terrorists opened fire on Saturday morning at defenceless revellers at an all-night trance music rave near Kibbutz Re’im, close to the Gaza Strip.
Sitting on the back of a terrorist’s motorcycle, her outstretched arms pointing towards her helpless boyfriend, student Noa Argamani pleads for her life
A terrified Gili Yoskovich hid under a tree for three hours as Hamas militants opened fire on defenceless festivalgoers near Kibbutz Re’im, close to the Gaza Strip
The mother described how young people – whose night celebrating the end of the Sukkot religious holiday had turned to terror – were dying all around her and on the road as Hamas militants went ‘tree to tree’ on a killing spree.
READ MORE: German tattoo artist, 30, killed by Hamas while attending a music festival before the militants paraded her body on the back of a truck and claimed she was an Israeli soldier – as her devastated family say they are in a ‘nightmare’
As the gunmen opened fire, Gili sprinted for her life and hid beneath a fruit tree in the middle of the field where she stayed until she heard people speaking in Hebrew and was rescued by Israeli soldiers.
‘I saw people were dying all around. I was very quiet. I didn’t cry, I didn’t do anything,’ she told the BBC.
‘I was… breathing, saying: “OK, I’m going to die. It’s OK, just breathe, just close your eyes”.’
Gili described the horror as the massacre unfolded and said: ‘They were going tree by tree and shooting. Everywhere. From two sides. I saw people were dying all around. I was very quiet. I didn’t cry, I didn’t do anything.’
It was also reported that Doron Asher, 34, and her two daughters, Raz, five, and Aviv, three, were among Israeli civilians taken hostage by Hamas gunmen and held captive in Gaza.
German tattoo artist Shani Louk, 30, was another taken and a video later emerged of her lifeless and semi-naked body being paraded in the back of a Hamas pick-up truck as militants sat on top of her and jeered.
Her mother, Ricarda, has released a heartbreaking video begging to know what had happened to her daughter.
A sudden invasion by the Hamas group has already left at least 482 people dead and another 3,200 injured – in less than one day. Dozens more are said to have been kidnapped and driven across the border into the Gaza Strip.
It was also reported that Doron Asher, 34, was taken hostage by Hamas gunmen and held captive in Gaza
Doron’s two daughters, Raz, five, and Aviv, three, were also reportedly captured by Hamas gunmen
Along with hundreds of other young Israelis, Noa (pictured) and Avi had been enjoying a peace festival in the desert when they were forced to flee for their lives
German tattoo artist named Shani Louk, 30, was in Israel to attend a peace rave
Shocking footage shared on social media appears to show Palestinian fighters parading Shani’s naked body on the back of a pick-up truck
Shani’s mother, Ricarda, holds up a picture of her daughter on her mobile phone in an emotional video appeal begging for help to find out what happened to her daughter
Smoke and flames billow after Israeli forces struck a high-rise tower in Gaza City, October 7
A woman in Tel Aviv picks her way through rubble late on Saturday
Israeli police officers evacuate a woman and a child from a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon
Along with hundreds of other young Israelis, Noa and Avi had been enjoying a peace festival in the desert when they were forced to flee for their lives from Hamas terrorists.
Revellers had gathered for an all-night trance music rave near Kibbutz Re’im, close to the Gaza Strip, to celebrate the end of the Sukkot religious holiday.
READ MORE: British soldier, 20, serving in the Israeli army is killed in attack on Gaza border by Hamas militants
But the festivities turned to chaos yesterday morning after Palestinian terrorists began firing rockets and gunshots into the crowd.
Footage circulated on social media showed hundreds of people screaming and crying as they fled the rave site on foot, pursued by the sound of gunfire.
‘I was supposed to go to the desert party but decided at the last minute not to,’ said Amir. ‘We last heard from her around 10am or 11am this morning when she texted us all to say that terrorists had opened fire and were chasing everyone but that they were both safe in hiding.
‘We haven’t heard from them since but then, unfortunately, we saw the disturbing videos of her abduction online. One of her on the back of a bike with terrorists.
‘The family is OK with us posting this because they want her released and are hoping someone can help.
‘Her parents are in shock and can’t even speak. She’s an only child.
‘She is such a lovely, positive woman, always kind and loves to travel. She just got back from Sri Lanka. We can’t believe something like this would happen at home.’
Last night, Avi’s brother Moshe said: ‘My brother just wanted to party with his girlfriend and look what happened.’
The shocking story came as families across Israel woke up yesterday expecting to celebrate one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar together.
Instead, the festival of Simchat Torah became a day of terror and bloodshed for residents living near the Gaza Strip.
The peace of the holy Sabbath was shattered in the early morning as marauding Hamas gunmen invaded the streets in places such as Sderot, a city less than a mile from the border.
Noa’s boyfriend, Avi Nathan (left), distraught and helpless, is left behind in the desert. He too is missing
Journalists take cover behind cars as Israeli soldiers take position during clashes with Palestinian fighters near the Gevim Kibbutz
Israeli civilians were purportedly taken off the street and driven back into Gaza
Footage appeared to show hostages being taken by Hamas militants into Gaza earlier today
People try to extinguish fire on cars following a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, southern Israel
Dozens of rockets are fired by Palestinians towards Israel on Saturday night
Smoke and flames billow after Israeli forces struck a high-rise tower in Gaza City
One captured woman was sat in the front seat of a golf cart accompanied with three male Hamas members as they made their way into the Gaza Strip
Brazen Hamas fighters knocked on the doors of residents who expected to find Israeli soldiers looking to reassure them about the air-raid sirens.
READ MORE: Shocking moment missile strike on Palestinian tower is captured on live TV broadcast of conflict with Israel – leaving distressed reporter screaming
Instead, innocent mothers with children, settlers and even the frail elderly found themselves the ‘war booty’ of the masked terrorists, who dragged them away at gunpoint.
Their actions – which horrified the international community – brought back grim reminders of masked Islamic State terrorists in Syria, who paraded hostages on social media before executing them.
But one Hamas leader hinted to the world that these hostages, whose number was well over 50 last night, would not be killed but be used as human bargaining chips to have their own prisoners in Israeli jails released.
One terrorism expert added that the captured Israelis could even be used as human shields to stop the Israeli air force – which began pounding Gaza yesterday – from blowing up certain targets.
Horrifying footage on social media showed terrified hostages being taken to Gaza by Hamas fighters, who chanted ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is great) as they led them away.
In one chilling video, a young Israeli woman, reported as being a soldier on social media, was seen lying in the back of an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) armoured vehicle commandeered by the terrorists. Then she was dragged by her hair out of the boot. Her clothes were drenched in blood.
As she was bundled into the back seat, cheering terrorists armed with Kalashnikov rifles shouted ‘Allahu akbar’. The fate of the unidentified woman was not known last night.
For Israelis working and living within range of Gaza, the sight of Hamas militants roaming outside their homes marked a terrifying turn of events unlike anything residents had experienced before.
‘This was always the nightmare. We told ourselves that one day, the terrorists will come inside here,’ said Jehan Berman, a 42-year-old in the small community of Avshalom, just a few kilometers from Gaza.
He added that it took eight hours for the Israeli military to arrive to his kibbutz and start fending off the Hamas fighters. ‘We cannot live like this.’
Mr Berman – who suffers from multiple wounds and disabilities inflicted by the past four wars and countless other skirmishes between Israel and Hamas over the years – said that Israeli authorities had notified him that Hamas had kidnapped his 75-year-old mother-in-law, along with several friends in their 30s and their small children.
The last time he heard from his mother-in-law was at 10.30am, he said, when she called him, panicked and distraught, to say that Hamas militants had shot and killed her husband.
Areas of Tel Aviv in Israel have seen significant damage from the air strikes, which are overwhelming Israeli defences
Shocking footage shared on social media appears to show Palestinian fighters parading the naked body of Shani Louk, 30, on the back of a pick-up truck
Firefighters work to put out a fire in an open field, following a mass-infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip
An Israeli army spokesman says fighting is continuing in 22 locations in southern Israel some 12 hours after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip.
Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari also said that Israel was striking targets in Gaza from the air and that ground operations were imminent.
Hagari confirmed ongoing hostage situations in the towns of Ofakim and Beeri. Earlier, both the Israeli military and Hamas confirmed that some Israelis had been captured and taken hostage.
In one ten-second video posted on Telegram, at least five Israeli women with bloodied faces can be seen huddled in the back of a pick-up truck, being taken away as hostages.
READ MORE: Police to step up patrols in Britain’s Jewish communities amid fears violence in Israel could spark series of antisemitic attacks
Another six-second video showed an Israeli mother with two young boys being captured. In pro-Hamas Twitter accounts, it was said that she was taken under their protection but her fate and that of her children were not known.
Sources at the Israeli embassy in London last night said most of the hostages were taken from seven areas bordering the Gaza Strip, including the city of Ashkelon. It was also reported that several hostages were taken away from a kibbutz in the village of Be’eri, near the Gaza border.
In one case, a video showed an Israeli hostage, completely covered up with a white sheet, being taken away by a group of terrorists in a golf buggy.
Two other videos emerged on X, formerly Twitter, which showed elderly women being taken to Gaza. In one, an Israeli woman wearing a red top was sandwiched between two Hamas terrorists on a motorbike.
And in grainy mobile phone footage, a female pensioner was driven away in a buggy with three armed terrorists on board.
Last night it was also reported that a mother and her two daughters, aged two and four, were among Israeli civilians taken hostage by Hamas gunmen and held captive in Gaza.
Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian, centre, from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023
Palestinians are greeted by crowds after returning from crossing the border into Israel
A sudden invasion by the Hamas group has already left at least 482 people dead and another 3,200 injured
Dozens more are said to have been kidnapped and driven across the border into the Gaza Strip
An Israeli army spokesman says fighting is continuing in 22 locations in southern Israel some 12 hours after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack
Sources in the Israeli government admitted that some of their soldiers were captured as hostages but said their identities could not be confirmed until their families were informed.
READ MORE: Who are Hamas? Everything you need to know about the Palestinian terror movement that has launched war on Israel
Grim videos showed one male Israeli soldier taken to Gaza and paraded through the streets while passers-by assaulted him. There were also reports that a senior commander of the IDF was taken hostage but the Israeli government has not confirmed it.
Shoval Kahlon, a resident of Sderot, told the Israeli public broadcaster Kan yesterday: ‘We woke up at 6.30am to alarms. We thought it was the usual rocket attacks but we started hearing gunshots on the street.
‘We then started seeing Hamas people in pick-up trucks. They knocked on the homes of residents, who thought they were Israeli soldiers. They took them hostage.’
Speaking on Saturday night, PM Netanyahu issued a dire warning to Hamas militants: ‘I tell Hamas, you are responsible for the wellbeing of captives, Israel will settle the score with anyone who harms them.’
He vowed to defeat the group, but said the war would ‘take time’, continuing: ‘What happened today has never been seen in Israel, we will take mighty vengeance for this black day.’
Promising ‘mighty vengeance’, he promised to reduce Gaza to ‘rubble’, telling innocent Palestinians to leave immediately.
Soon after, a convey of tanks were reported to be heading towards the border with Gaza.
Speaking late on Saturday, a spokesperson for the Israeli military said the situation in the south of the country was ‘still not fully under control’.
Smoke and flames rise after Israeli forces fired further airstrikes towards the Gaza Strip
Rubble and damage to vehicles can be seen after a Hamas missile hit a building in Tel Aviv, Israel
A member of Israeli police is seen in Ashkelon, southern Israel, as a car burns
Fires break out at the Nahal Oz military site after Palestinian resistance fighters entered
Smoke rises after Israeli warplanes targeted the Palestine tower in Gaza City
Jonathan Conricus said Hamas militants initially went from ‘house to house’ in search of Israeli civilians, some of whom were ‘executed in cold blood’ in their own homes.
At least 250 Israelis and 232 Palestinians have been killed as a result of the attack and the spokesman believes this number will rise.
Rocket strikes have been continuing throughout the night from both sides, as supporters of the Hamas group have been pictured celebrating the conflict escalation in neighbouring countries including Iran.
Saleh al-Arouri, a top Hamas official, told the Al Jazeera television station that his group is holding ‘a large number’ of Israeli prisoners, including senior officers, adding they will be used to bargain for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
There are an estimated 5,200 Palestinians in Israeli jails, including 33 women and 170 minors.
In 2011, Israel secured the release of its soldier Gilad Shalit by freeing more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the RUSI think-tank, said: ‘Using hostages as bargaining chips has been done by Hamas before. It is likely they will do this again, and not execute hostages.
‘It is possible the hostages could be used as human shields in coming days, but their main role would be to get Hamas prisoners released.’
Josep Borrell Fontelles, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said last night: ‘News of civilians taken as hostages in their homes or to Gaza are appalling. This is against international law. Hostages must be released immediately.’
Onslaught from land, sea and air: IAN GALLAGHER reveals how Palestinian terrorists crossed into Israel and launched a co-ordinated, multi-pronged assault that left the world recoiling in horror
The world recoiled in horror yesterday as Israel suffered its worst onslaught for 50 years – caught off guard by unprecedented land, sea and air attacks.
In a co-ordinated, multi-pronged assault, Palestinian terrorists crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip, seizing settlements and capturing and murdering civilians celebrating a Jewish holiday.
In a video widely shared on social media, a woman screaming ‘Don’t kill me!’ can be seen being driven off on a motorbike by a gunman.
The Mail on Sunday has learned she is Noa Argamani, 25, a student who was seized at an outdoor peace festival she had attended with her boyfriend close to the border.
Other footage showed captured soldiers and civilians – some dead – being paraded through Gaza’s streets.
A young girl looks at the wreckage caused by an Israeli airstrike on Saturday
Many Palestinians were left without electricity as they picked through rubble
People flee as clashes flare between Palestinian groups and Israeli forces in Gaza City following the earlier air strikes
A man carries a crying child as they walk past a building destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City
Heralding the start of what Hamas called ‘the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth’, Gaza’s ruling group had earlier fired more than 2,500 rockets at Israeli targets, killing more than 200 and injuring 980.
Elsewhere, some of the invaders used motorised paragliders to attack enemy bases with machine guns.
Many more gunmen poured into Israel in a convoy of trucks, cars and motorcycles after an advance party bulldozed the heavily fortified border, previously considered impregnable. Others came ashore by boat. The attacks instantly plunged the region into all-out war.
Israel vowed revenge and responded with a devastating missile blitz that left 230 dead and 1,610 injured in Gaza. Earlier, Hamas was accused of cold-blooded executions, with footage of apparent victims flooding social media.
In other developments on Israel’s darkest day for decades:
Terrorists seized at least 50 Israeli hostages and took them into Gaza where they are being held in underground tunnels;
- Gunmen drove a captured elderly woman into Gaza on a golf cart;
- A video showed the body of a half-naked woman, said to be an Israeli soldier, being paraded through the Gaza Strip. Another revealed a dead man in military uniform slumped on the back of a truck. Elsewhere, according to reports, an army commander was taken hostage;
- A desert rave in Reim, near the Gaza border, was attacked, with dozens kidnapped and several killed;
- Israel said its forces were engaged in gunfights with Hamas terrorists in at least 20 locations;
- Last night there were reports of Hezbollah terrorists gathering at Israel’s border with Lebanon, with Israel Defence Forces troops firing at them. Intelligence sources said that Hezbollah was in full readiness for war, raising fears that the conflict could escalate even further;
- Rishi Sunak is expected to speak to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tell him Britain is on stand-by to offer help and assistance at the soonest opportunity;
- Security at synagogues across Britain was ‘strengthened’;
- Hamas said hostages would be used to negotiate the release of Palestinian prisoners.
A ball of fire and smoke rise from an explosion on a Palestinian apartment tower following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City
Hamas claimed to have fired 5,000 rockets into Israel from the occupied Gaza Strip, setting off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
World leaders have appealed for restraint, with US President Joe Biden warning Israel’s enemies not to take advantage of the situation.
Calling the attacks ‘unconscionable’, Mr Biden said last night: ‘Today the people of Israel came under an attack orchestrated by a terrorist organisation, Hamas.
‘In this moment of tragedy I want to say to them, and to the world, and to terrorists everywhere, the United States stands with Israel. We will not ever fail to have her back.’
Beginning at dawn yesterday, the rocket blizzard quickly overwhelmed Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.
Mohammed Deif, the shadowy leader of Hamas’s military wing, said the assault was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, Israeli raids inside West Bank cities over the past year, violence at Al-Aqsa, the disputed Jerusalem holy site sacred to Jews as the Temple Mount, increasing attacks by settlers on Palestinians and the growth of settlements.
‘Enough is enough,’ Deif, who does not appear in public, said in the recorded message.
He revealed that the attack was only the start of what he called ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Storm’ and called on Palestinians from east Jerusalem to northern Israel to join the fight.
READ MORE: Who are Hamas? Everything you need to know about the Palestinian terror movement that has launched war on Israel
In response, Israel launched Operation Iron Swords. Among the bombing targets was the house of Hamas Gaza chief Yehya Al-Sinwar in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Mr Netanyahu warned that ‘the enemy will pay a price he has never known’.
Fighting raged on the 50th anniversary of the start of the Yom Kippur War, when Israel was similarly caught napping by its neighbours.
Yesterday was the last day of another religious holiday, Sukkot. The invasion left many Israelis asking the same question: How could this happen?
Israel has the most well-funded intelligence service in the Middle East, with informants and agents inside Palestinian terror groups, yet failed to anticipate the attacks.
It has also built a massive fence along the Gaza border which is meant to prevent infiltrations.
The fence goes deep underground and is equipped with cameras, sensors and sensitive listening technology. Some experts have even suggested Hamas and other Palestinian groups could not have acted alone and suggested backing from hostile powers.
Yesterday’s dramatic events come against a background of hopeful speculation about the possibility of Saudi Arabia and Israel reaching an historic peace agreement, brokered by the Americans.
It was hailed as momentous – the end of hostilities between the Arab world and Jewish state. Then, from nowhere, came the new conflict.
Mr Netanyahu has told Israel that it is ‘at war’ with Hamas and has ordered a call-up of reservists.
The Israeli Prime Minister also ordered the military to clear the infiltrated towns of Hamas terrorists who remained locked in gunfights with Israeli soldiers.
Palestinians use an excavator to break through the border fence separating the occupied Gaza Strip from Israel
Ambulances transport people to hospital in Tel Aviv after the incursion on Saturday
Palestinian militants brandish weapons as they pass through Israeli territory on trucks
A rescue worker from the Magen David Adom disaster relief service looks on as cars burn at the site of a rocket attack in Ashkelon, southern Israel
An Israeli missile launched from the Iron Dome defence missile system attempts to intercept a rocket, fired from the Gaza Strip, over the city of Netivot in southern Israel
Comparisons to the Yom Kippur War, one of the most traumatic moments in Israeli history, sharpened criticism of Mr Netanyahu and his far-Right allies, who had campaigned on more aggressive action against threats from Gaza.
Political commentators lambasted the Government over its failure to foresee what appeared to be a Hamas attack unseen in its level of planning and co-ordination.
The terror attacks come at a time of historic division within Israel over Mr Netanyahu’s proposal to overhaul the judiciary. Mass protests over the plan have sent hundreds of thousands of Israeli demonstrators on to the streets and prompted hundreds of reservists to avoid volunteer duty – turmoil that has raised fears over the military’s battlefield readiness.
Last night, millions of Israelis were hunkering down in safe rooms, sheltering from rocket explosions and ongoing gun-battles with Hamas terrorists.
Cities and towns emptied as the military closed roads near Gaza.
In the kibbutz of Nahal Oz, just two miles from the Gaza Strip, terrified residents who were huddled indoors said they could hear constant gunfire echoing off buildings as firefights continued hours after the initial attack.
Mirjam Reijnen, a 42-year-old mother of three, who lives in Nahal Oz, said: ‘With rockets we somehow feel safer, knowing that we have the Iron Dome and our safe rooms. But knowing that terrorists are walking around communities is a different kind of fear.’
Israel has blockaded Gaza since Islamist group Hamas gained control of the territory in 2007 and the two have fought wars ever since.
In Gaza, the roar of rocket launches could be heard last night and residents reported armed clashes along the separation fence with Israel.
‘We are afraid,’ Amal Abu Daqqa, said as she left her house in Khan Younis. Others expressed disbelief at the infiltration into Israel. ‘It is like a dream. I still can’t believe it,’ said one Gaza shopkeeper.
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