A horrific new eyewitness account of the October 7 Hamas attack has been brought to light by a report published on Sunday. Yoni Saadon, one of the survivors of the attack on Nova music festival, told The Sunday Times that he hid beneath the body of a woman who was shot in the head and smearing her blood on himself. The 39-year-old also shared details of rape and mutilation he witnessed during and after the attack with the British newspaper.
“I saw this beautiful woman with the face of an angel and eight or 10 of the fighters beating and raping her,” Mr Saadon told the outlet. “She was screaming, ‘Stop it already! I’m going to die anyway from what you are doing, just kill me!’
“When they finished, they were laughing, and the last one shot her in the head,” he said.
“I kept thinking it could have been one of my daughters. Or my sister – I had bought her a ticket but last minute she couldn’t come,” the father of four said.
Mr Saadon said he witnessed the horrific act after pulling over him the body of a woman who was also shot in the head. He smeared her blood on himself to make it look like he was dead.
“I will never forget her face. Every night I wake to it and apologise to her, saying. ‘I’m sorry’,” he said.
Mr Saadon eventually fled the site and joined others who were hiding in bushes. He saw more horrific scenes, including one where a woman was trying to stop two Hamas fighters from stripping her.
“They threw her to the ground, and one of the terrorists took a shovel and beheaded her,” Mr Saadon told the UK outlet. “And her head rolled along the ground. I see that head, too.”
Hamas has denied allegations of sexual violence, but Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) claim that captured operatives have said they were ordered to “dirty” the women, according to the outlet.
After firing a barrage of rockets for cover, the fighters raided border towns, kibbutzim and a music festival, gunning down civilians and seizing captives on October 7. Israel said 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 hostages taken to Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Israel responded by vowing to destroy Hamas, and its retaliation was swift and fierce. It began intense aerial bombardment of Gaza, told residents in the north to evacuate to the south then launched a ground assault, laying waste to much of the enclave.
The last week of November saw a truce to allow the daily release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian detainees.
But after seven days during which women, children and foreign hostages were freed, mediators failed at the final hour to find a formula to extend the agreement. On December 1, the truce collapsed.