Woman says she ran for miles to flee deadly music festival attack in Israel


(NEW YORK) — Noam Manket was among a crowd of thousands of people enjoying a music festival in southern Israel Saturday when rockets began firing overhead.

Manket said she watched as fellow concertgoers fled for their vehicles, hoping to drive away to safety, only to be met with gunfire from Hamas, the militant group that Israeli authorities said launched an unprecedented attack on their country Saturday.

“All the people who got away fast were shot in their car,” Manket told ABC News.

Manket said she made it out of the festival alive by running through an open field. She said she ran for miles with no food or water and while holding the hand of one of her friends with whom she had attended the concert.

“You just keep running because you realize that if you don’t keep running, then you don’t go back home,” Manket said, adding that rockets were blasting overhead as she and her friend escaped.

More than 24 hours since the attack, Manket said she has not heard whether or not some of her close friends also attending the festival survived.

Tom Mayer, who attended the festival with his girlfriend, recalled hearing the chaos and gunfire from the attack as they tried to escape.

“Bullets are over your head. You hear the shots. You get down and keep running,” Mayer told ABC News’ Ian Pannell in Israel.

Israeli authorities said more than 260 bodies have been recovered at the site of the music festival, with many more people still missing.

Among those waiting to hear their loved ones’ fates are parents like Jon Polin, whose son Hersh has not been heard from since Saturday.

“He sent two brief WhatsApp messages to my wife and me,” Polin said. “The first message said, ‘I love you.’ The second message said, ‘I’m sorry.’ Since then, we’ve heard nothing from him.”

Another father, Ophir Dor, is still waiting to hear from his son, 25-year-old Idan.

“It is now 1 a.m., and we are all here. No one can sleep,” Ophir Dor said. “We have no information about Idan. Nothing.”

Idan Dor’s brother, Amit Dor, said the family heard from Idan in the immediate aftermath of the festival attack, when he called his sister to say he was in danger.

“He screamed, ‘I’m running. I’m running for my life. Everyone is shooting everywhere, in every direction,"” Amit Dor said, adding that the family has not heard from his brother since.

Israeli officials said that across the country, at least 100 civilians and soldiers have been taken hostage after Hamas fired thousands of rockets over the weekend and an estimated 1,000 fighters crossed into Israel from the neighboring Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces has since declared “a state of alert for war” and launched retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza, a 140-square-mile territory where 2 million Palestinians have lived under a blockade imposed by neighboring Israel and Egypt since Hamas seized power in 2007.

Authorities said at least 560 people have died and another 2,900 have been injured in Gaza since Saturday. Unlike Israel, the Gaza Strip has no air raid sirens or bomb shelters.

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