Hamas attack survivor, 10, shares tragic birthday wish: ‘I don’t want to get murdered’

IDF releases footage of them attacking Hamas operatives

As she blew out the candles on her 10th birthday cake last month, schoolgirl Mia Margolis made a tragic wish: to not be murdered.

The traumatised youngster’s father, Saar, was killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7 while defending their farming community just 1km from the Gaza border.

The Daily Express visited Kibbutz Kissufim this week – and found a ghost town of abandoned houses riddled with bullet holes, broken glass and forgotten belongings.

Saar’s wife Yasmin had lived here for 17 years. She now stays in temporary housing near the Dead Sea with their two daughters, Mia, and Tavor, eight.

Yasmin, 35, said of her eldest’s birthday: “When she blew out the candles I asked her, ‘What do you want? Imagine the greatest thing. Do you want to travel the world?’ And she said: ‘I don’t want to get murdered.

READ MORE: Israel launches military assault on al-Shifa hospital in Gaza

Mum Yasmin had lived in the kibbutz for 17 years (Image: Yasmin Margolis)

“Tavor, the younger, she has a lot of anger attacks. I believe it’s from missing her father.” When the rockets began screeching overhead early on October 7, the family hid their home’s secure room and Saar joked with his daughters to distract them.

But when it became clear the attack was more serious than the usual barrages, he handed his wife of 12 years a handgun, urged her to barricade the door and went out with his rifle.

Saar, 37, had previously led the kibbutz’s civilian security force for 11 years, and he joined them as they became the first line of defence for the population of 230 against some 120 invading militants.

Over the next few hours, Yasmin checked in with her husband via text and he promised he was doing everything possible to stay safe.

She added: “But he didn’t tell me what was happening outside, that people were being kidnapped, murdered, burned in their houses.”

Yasmin standing in front of the spot where Saar died fighting to save others

Yasmin standing in front of the spot where Saar died fighting to save others (Image: Jonathan Buckmaster)

As we walked through the eerily quiet kibbutz, Yasmin pointed out the spot where Saar fought bravely in a gun battle against Hamas fighters who has taken over a military outpost.

Six terrorists also occupied his mother’s house, using the second storey window to fire rocket-propelled grenades at soldiers when the army finally arrived several hours later. Luckily she was away visiting her sister.

Then, Yasmin showed us the house where Saar died, gunned down as he ran up the steps to rescue a man trapped inside by the attackers.

A small kitchen window has been shattered by a dozen bullets. Inside, the walls and ceilings are scarred with bullet marks and no corner is untouched by dust and debris.

By the time Saar died, his family had been evacuated in their pyjamas by soldiers. Yasmin said: “All around us were a lot of dead bodies. I didn’t know if they were soldiers or terrorists.

“For the kids it was like an adventure. But now they’re scared of every noise, the impact of this is just starting to arise.”

After several hours without word from Saar, news of his death was delivered by a social worker. He was one of 15 murdered victims in this tight-knit community. An 86-year-old man who was kidnapped is still being held hostage in Gaza.

Looking around at the piles of furniture and household items piled outside Saar’s mother’s house, Yasmin said: “All of the memories of our lives that we used to have are broken.

“I am Saar’s voice and I want everyone to know the bravery that he had that day.”

The grieving widow wore a T-shirt bearing a drawing of Saar and a Thai boxing glove punching up through his grave, representing one of his passions.

She returns to the kibbutz to tell her story and visit his grave around once a week, but it gets harder every time.

Yasmin told us: “You didn’t know Saar. He was funny and strong. It’s not acceptable that he’s under the ground. This is the worst image for me, to see the grave. When I’m far from it, I feel like he’s with me all the time.”

The nearby Nova festival site where hundreds of revellers were killed

The nearby Nova festival site where hundreds of revellers were killed (Image: Jonathan Buckmaster)

Yasmin, an event planner, said she was not shocked by the brutality Hamas displayed that day as she had become used to living under threat so close to the border.

Asked about the ongoing conflict, she added: “I want them to live in peace and I want to live in peace. But together, I know it just can’t happen.”

Israel is facing mounting international pressure to reach a ceasefire agreement as the death toll in Gaza rises and a humanitarian crisis unfolds.

Around 31,000 people have been killed in the conflict there, according to figures by the Hamas-run health authorities which are disputed by Israel.

Elay and his friends hid for nine hours after fleeing the Nova festival

Elay and his friends hid for nine hours after fleeing the Nova festival (Image: Jonathan Buckmaster)

‘We were just thinking, please let be quick, please don’t kidnap us.’

Elay Karavani, 23, played a deadly game of hide and seek with Hamas militants for nine hours on October 7. He was attending the Nova festival in southern Israel with friends when the music stopped and a DJ announced a red alert for rockets.

The revellers lay on the floor for a few minutes as the Iron Dome defence system intercepted incoming missiles, then headed to their cars.

As the roads became clogged, gunshots rang out and word spread of a terror attack.

In the confusion, Elay’s group met a woman in a bomb shelter who told them her friends were murdered in front of her eyes.

He said: “We didn’t believe her. We said: ‘I don’t know what you took, you need to sit down and drink some water. You’re imagining.’

“A couple of seconds later a police officer took the microphone and said: ‘Everyone just run for your lives. Protect yourself.’”

Elay and his friends hid in a field of avocado trees for several hours. They heard passing footsteps and people speaking Arabic, and at one point ran for their lives when they glimpsed casually-dressed terrorists carrying rifles.

Elay, a winery manager, said: “We thought, it’s our end. We thought we were going to die we were just thinking, please be quick, please don’t kidnap us.”

They were eventually rescued by police officers who led them to a car and told them not to look out of the windows. When he did, Elay saw dozens of bodies strewn on the road or slumped in cars.

He added: “It’s a war that we didn’t start but we have to end. If we take the threat from the south, life here will be better, 100 percent.”

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