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Surviving terror: Jonathan Diller's harrowing account of Nova Festival massacre by Hamas in Israel (WATCH)

A harrowing first-hand account of Jonathan Diller's survival during the Nova Festival massacre, shedding light on the nightmarish terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel.

Surviving terror: Jonathan Diller's harrowing account of Nova Festival massacre by Hamas in Israel (WATCH) snt
First Published Oct 16, 2023, 3:43 PM IST

It was supposed to be a night of music, laughter, and celebration, but it turned into a nightmare that will forever haunt the survivors. The Nova Festival, an event filled with life and joy, became the setting for a horrifying terrorist attack by the Hamas in Israel.  28-year-old Jonathan Diller, an Italian-American living in Israel, is one of the survivors who witnessed the unimaginable. In this first-hand account, he shares the chilling details of that fateful day and the resilience that allowed him to emerge from the chaos.

"There were around 3,000 people in the festival. Over 260 of them died. Slaughtered to death. Some kidnapped. I guess almost 10%. The whole event was just erased. My name is Jonathan Diller. I am 28. I am an Italian American citizen and I live in Israel. I survived the horrifying terrorist attack at the music festival," said the survivor in a video shared by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on X, formerly Twitter.

Jonathan Diller and his friend were among those who came to revel in the festivities. At 6:30 am, as they danced the night away, rockets rained down from above. It was a scene they were familiar with, living in a region accustomed to rocket attacks. But this time was different. The festival-goers had no way of anticipating the horrors that awaited them.

"My friend and I and our whole group were dancing. Suddenly at 6:30 am, we just saw rockets. Dozens of rockets at the top overhead. We weren't surprised. This is something that has happened in the past. Rockets being launched to Israel. We knew the drill," the Italian-American recalled.

"Suddenly, I see this woman doing this U-turn. And you see her knee, that was shot, that was bleeding. We tried to find something to block her wound. Tried to close it with our shirt, bring her water. They were shooting around us and we heard dozens of gunshots. In the meantime, she was just dying in front of our eyes. We went to the river east from our location. We were hiding and just waiting for things to end. Slowly, we were hearing more gunfire and heavy gunfire and bullets on top of our heads. I was screaming everyone just lay down and put your head down. Let's keep moving forward. Keep moving East, away from the compound, away from the event. We just kept walking and unfortunately, there were people that, that stayed there. These people were, I guess, just not lucky. So we were walking for hours and hours. We were all exhausted. We didn't have any water, no food. While we were walking there were dozens of missiles on top of our heads," Jonathan said as he recounted the horrifying attack by Hamas.

After a grueling journey, the survivors reached the outskirts of Patish, a small village. Their desperate cries for help were answered by compassionate strangers who ushered them to safety. The survivors joined the ranks of others who had made it out alive, their faces etched with fear and disbelief. The reality that they had narrowly escaped a horrific massacre was slowly sinking in.

"We finally got to the outskirts of the closest village, called Patish. We saw people waiting for us with cars, calling us in Hebrew and just waving. We're all just running to them not knowing where we're going, but we know we're going to somewhere safe. There were hundreds of people from the event, people crying. They couldn't find their friends. We understood that they were really lucky because the ones that left first are the ones that interacted with the terrorist, but if we didn't see that gunshot of the injured woman at the beginning, we didn't think that this would be such a big and horrifying event," the Nova Festival survivor concluded.

The producers of Israel’s Supernova Sukkot Gathering released their first statement two days ago, which stated that that they are “working hand in hand with security forces and authorities to help find answers and bring back all that those who can return to their families and friends.”

The statement also noted that members of the Nova Tribe team have been at the site of the attack by Hamas over the past week, “searching for those located in the disaster area, or other locations, recovering equipment from the site and its surroundings and, above all, ensuring the security of Israel.”

The statement continued to say that “at this moment, our production team is focused on providing the right and extensive emotional and mental support to everyone involved. This is the most important thing in this moment.”

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