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Brothers fight Hamas terrorists for nine hours in a battle for Israeli lives

As missiles descended from the sky, we continued in our car while terrorists fired upon us. After 15 minutes, we encountered a military tank. Exiting our car, we ran toward the tank and discovered injured soldiers inside.

  • 5 months ago
  • January 30, 2024
6 min read
Neriya Sharabi before the October 7, 2023 attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists. | Photo courtesy of Neriya Sharabi Neriya Sharabi before the October 7, 2023 attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists. | Photo courtesy of Neriya Sharabi
journalist’s notes
interview subject
Neriya Sharabi, alongside his brother Daniel Sharabi, demonstrated unwavering courage during the tragic events at the Supernova Music Festival in Israel on October 7, 2023. Engaging in a nine-hour ordeal, they actively fought against Hamas terrorists, providing vital fire cover and saving numerous lives. The Sharabi brothers, resourceful in the face of adversity, discovered weapons in a tank and received guidance from an IDF officer over the phone as they aided escapees. Their heroic actions reflect a commitment to preserving lives during the harrowing massacre orchestrated by Hamas terrorists.
background information
During the tragic events October 7, 2023, approximately 360 out of the 1,200 Israeli casualties occurred at the Supernova Music Festival in southern Israel. The assault began when Hamas launched over 5,000 rockets at the southern part of Israel, followed by their armed entry into the kibbutz from the Gaza border, equipped with heavy weaponry. The terrorists perpetrated heinous acts, killing and burning civilians, while holding around 213 civilians as hostages in Gaza. To date, Hamas has released about 152 hostages, with the remainder still held captive in Gaza.

RE’IM, Israel — On October 7, 2023, I attended the Supernova Music Festival in Israel. My brother, friends, and I never foresaw the terror awaiting us in the deserts of Re’im. We went from enjoying the DJ’s music to seeing the unimaginable – a friend burned alive in an ambulance set ablaze by Hamas terrorists.

The nightmarish ordeal unfolded as rockets disrupted the festivities, forcing us into a desperate struggle to survive. In the aftermath, my brother and I, alongside other courageous individuals, actively fought against the terrorists for almost nine hours. Now, we are piecing our lives back together. Driven by the pursuit of positive change, I aim to provide support to those affected through my recently established NGO.

Read more on Israel-Hamas war at Orato World Media.

From celebration to chaos: Hamas burned our friend alive

Having spent four years in the active military in Israel, my brother Daniel, our friends Karin Journo and Yosef-Haim Ohana, and I missed out on enjoying parties together. So, when the Supernova Music Festival was announced, it seemed like a great opportunity.

On October 6, 2023, we drove from Tel Aviv to the desert in the kibbutz Re’im, where the overnight party commenced the next day. Initially we stayed outside the party gates, because they did not serve alcohol inside. Finally, around 5:00 a.m., we went in and began enjoying the music. I friend of ours was performing as a DJ.

Suddenly, around 6:00 a.m., the sound of rockets disrupted the festivities. Although Hamas launching rockets remained common due to Gaza’s proximity to Israel, this morning felt different. Chaos ensued as everyone ran to seek shelter. My brother and I went our separate ways, while Karin and Yosef stuck together.

Tragically, our friend at the DJ station got shot in the leg as she tried to escape. My brother, a combat medic, assisted her to the on-site ambulance, where he aided numerous injured individuals. Despite our friend losing her leg, she remained alive. Then, suddenly, Hamas terrorists set the ambulance on fire. We watched in horror as our friend was burned alive.

My brother helped 12 other victims while a friend and I headed to the parking area to locate my car. Once inside, I sped to pick up my brother and friend, intent on leaving. Near the entrance, we encountered eight people firing Kalashnikovs at the cars. Confused and frightened, we knew it was a terrorist attack. My brother instructed me to find an empty road, where we helped evacuate some girls we encountered.

We searched in the darkness through an Israeli tank, amongst the bodies of dead soldiers, to find weapons

We approached a checkpoint as we heard warnings about more Hamas terrorists armed with machine guns and Kalashnikovs. The warnings caused panic amongst the people escaping as we all feared widespread casualties. My brother and I stayed behind some Israeli officers and noticed three cars approaching from a distance, firing incessantly.

Chaos erupted as people ran. Having stepped out, we hurried back to our cars. People around us tragically lost their lives while attempting to flee. Our friends Karin and Yosef ran left, and my brother and I went right. While Karin found shelter behind cars, Hamas kidnapped Yosef. He is still a hostage in Gaza today.

As missiles descended from the sky, we continued in our car while terrorists fired upon us. After 15 minutes, we encountered a military tank from Israel. Exiting our car, we ran toward the tank and discovered injured soldiers inside. Hoping to find weapons for self-defense, my brother attempted to contact the Israeli Defense Force using the tank’s radio, while I searched for weapons.

The commander instructed us to look for weapons inside the tank, but complete darkness engulfed us. As I came upon deceased soldiers, I scoured for weapons, and my brother located an RPG, which he used to provide cover and aid others fleeing.

Devoid of a weapon, I remained inside the tank, praying, and stumbled upon an M16 beneath a deceased soldier’s leg. With a mere 10 bullets, I opted to stay inside, mindful of the overwhelming Hamas presence.

I tossed the weapon to my brother and continued searching for backups. Finally, I stepped out to help my brother, but the trigger of the gun was stuck and needed to be greased. My brother talked me out of going back in the tank and a girl nearby gave me lip balm to grease the trigger. It worked.

Seeing so many bodies left us traumatized, friends have since committed suicide

My brother took charge of the area and together we shot down about 100 Hamas terrorists, while helping girls climb in the tank. We fought relentlessly for two hours when we saw a police van approaching. They neared and we held our weapons in a defensive stance, demanding their identities. Claiming to be Israeli cops carrying the injured, they stopped near the tank and joined us in the fight.

After nine hours, IDF soldiers finally arrived to evacuate us, as well as the injured. Amidst the chaos, my finger throbbed with pain where sharp shreds from an RPG struck me. With about 15 people in the tank and another 15 in the police van, we resorted to singing to cope as we awaited evacuation.

As the IDF pulled dead bodies out of the tank, I felt the full impact of the trauma. After two hours at a police station, we moved to a nearby hospital and that scene, full of dead and injured victims of the Hamas attack, will be etched in my memory forever.

Still in a restricted zone, we stayed at friend’s place until morning. At 8:00 a.m. the next day, we finally made it home. In a moment of compassion, my cousin bought tickets for my brother and I to fly to Los Angeles to help us heal from our trauma. We stayed for two months then went on to New York.

Since the experience of living through the Hamas attack on Israel, several of our friends committed suicide. My brother remains completely isolated from any news related to Israel, and I started an NGO to help those affected by trauma. The toll is truly profound.

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