Maya Izoutcheev’s harrowing escape from Israeli music festival attacked by Hamas terrorists | News

todayOctober 28, 2023 1

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EXCLUSIVEThe first thing you should know about Maya Izoutcheev is she loves God, country, and her family.

A 29-year-old born in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, Maya’s grandparents fled during the Holocaust from the occupied Soviet Union, where Nazis and their allies murdered millions of Jews. The second thing to know about Maya is she has her own survival story — one of the brave souls who narrowly escaped an Oct. 7 music festival in the Jewish state that ended in Hamas terrorists raping, abducting, and killing 260 innocent attendees. This is that story.


In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Maya detailed her hourslong experience “running for our lives” with her friend Sagi Gabay, 28, following the Hamas attack on the open-air Supernova Sukkot Gathering with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles. The terrorists arrived in vans and donned military uniforms, leaving up to 4,000 festival attendees scrambling and, in some cases, hiding underneath dead bodies and covering themselves with the blood of the fallen to fake dead.

Most festivalgoers were from Israel, others from the United States, England, and elsewhere.

Since Oct. 7, there have been over 1,400 deaths and 5,400 injuries in Israel, according to Israeli officials. At least 33 U.S. citizens are dead in connection to the Israel-Gaza conflict, while an unknown number of Americans are considered to be held hostage by Hamas, the State Department said this week. Hamas says over 7,000 have been killed in Gaza, but national security experts say the number is unreliable.

Maya, a contract manager at an engineering company and bartender, worked as a bouncer at the festival. She finished her shift on Oct. 7 at roughly 6:15 a.m., changed into sneakers, and watched the sunrise.

Fifteen minutes later, at 6:30 a.m., Maya and Sagi went to find their friends in a small camping area.

The group met up. At that same time, they started to hear rockets overhead, which Maya told the Washington Examiner didn’t feel immediately “irregular,” given Israel is under constant threat and uses the Iron Dome air defense system to thwart attacks.

Maya Izoutcheev, 29, is one of the many survivors of the Re’im music festival massacre on Oct 7., a day that saw Hamas killing hundreds of Israelis in southern Israel. October 2023. Provided by Maya Izoutcheev/Israel

‘Ducks being shot at’

Suddenly, the thumping music stopped, and attendees began evacuating at the direction of the festival’s organizers. “Guys, we have a red alert,” a voice warned over the loudspeakers. “Red alert.” Crowds disbursed and glanced at the cream-colored sky. Seven white rocket flashes appeared.

Maya and Sagi split from their friends, who arrived in different cars. The two began driving away from the festival area — only one road was available — though to the right due to the left having a traffic jam.

“We started driving to the right, and after 300 meters, my friend yelled at me to stop the car,” Maya recounted. “I didn’t realize why. I started to ask him, and he jumped out of the car and ran to a shelter. And at this split second, I realized that the car was under gunfire.”

“So, I hid under the wheel,” Maya said. “My friend yelled at me to reach out and get to him. I opened the car door, and I just ran because I thought, if I’m going to die, I might as well be running.”

Shelters are common in Israel, where people huddle to shield themselves from rockets. But this one didn’t have doors and didn’t guarantee safety from on-foot terrorists.

Maya and Sagi stayed in the shelter for five minutes with around 40 festivalgoers, she said. However, Sagi suddenly grew claustrophobic or had some sort of bad “feeling,” and they left on foot. Sneakers came in handy.

It was 7:00 a.m. Sagi grabbed her hand, and they ran to the car, made a U-turn, and drove to the other side of the traffic jam. Then they saw it. Coming from the direction they were heading were cars filled with people screaming for help, bleeding, and warning others.

“I realized we had nowhere to go,” Maya told the Washington Examiner. “They were coming from both sides. We opened the car doors and started running toward a field. We didn’t know which way we should run.”

Maya managed to grab her cell phone, leaving her keys and money behind.

“That’s when we realized we were like ducks being shot at,” she said. “When we were running, you saw people to the right and left sides falling down because they got shot, and you could hear them screaming and heard the bullets firing behind your head. But you just keep running because, if you go back, you’re probably going to die.”

Later in the day, Maya would see gruesome footage on her phone showing what happened at the shelter. Minutes after she left, terrorists threw grenades inside and shot everyone to make sure they were dead.

The only survivors were one or two people hiding underneath dead bodies, Maya said.

The shelter at the Nova festival in Israel where Maya Izoutcheev and Sagi Gabay hid briefly. October 2023. Provided by Maya Izoutcheev

‘Your son killed Jews!’

As Maya and Sagi ran away from the festival, they saw smoke rising from nearby kibbutz’s — agricultural communities set aflame, where men, women, children, and the elderly were killed in their homes. At Kibbutz Be’eri, Israeli officials would soon find the tortured and mutilated remains of a six-year-old and seven-year-old, plus their mother and father, tied with their hands behind their backs. Kibbutz Nir Oz saw a quarter of its 400 population kidnapped.

One Hamas terrorist called his parents from Kibbutz Mefalsim to brag about how he slaughtered 10 Jews alone.

“Look how many I killed with my own hands!” he said. “Your son killed Jews!”

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After roughly two-and-a-half hours of running, Maya and Sagi arrived in Patish, a settlement in southern Israel. It was 11:30 a.m.

Maya was also checking her phone constantly, trying to get in touch with friends, including her roommate, who sent an image of her hiding in the ticket booth at the festival alongside several others. The roommate also sent a picture in the booth holding hands with her brother-in-law, who was shot in the stomach, though still breathing.

Another friend inside was shot in the knees.

Outside the ticket booth, terrorists were debating among each other which attendees, many of whom were drunk or high on psychedelics, they would outright murder or rape. Hamas kidnapped Maya’s 21-year-old friend Mia Shem, who would later be recorded in a Hamas hostage video, and the brother of a childhood friend.

In Patish, civilians provided food and water to perplexed and exhausted festivalgoers. Maya and Sagi retreated to a bomb shelter and were later in the day shuttled with others in a bus to the city of Be’er Sheva.

Police cars trailed the bus, which arrived at 2:00 p.m.

Maya Izoutcheev (right) pictured with friends in September 2023, weeks before the Hamas-led Re’im music festival massacre in October 2023. Provided by Maya Izoutcheev

A girl who escaped the festival introduced Maya and Sagi to her father, who offered to drive them to Tel Aviv. As they rode, air ride sirens blared like surround sound. Hamas commander Mohammed Deif had urged “Muslims everywhere to launch an attack.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would soon declare war.

Liron Barda is a hero

The horror of what was happening became more clear to Maya in Tel Aviv. “There was a counting in Israel on television of the dead,” Maya, who called her parents and went to their home outside the city, said. “It started at 50. Then it went to 100. And then it went to 150. All the time jumping.”

“I was looking at my feed on Facebook and Instagram, and just seeing a lot of my friends who posted happy pictures at the festival, who were celebrating life, missing, kidnapped, and I don’t know where they are,” she said. “Dead?”

Meanwhile, that day, Maya was still in contact with her friends holed up in the festival’s ticket booth. Hamas tried to kick open the booth twice, though it failed. A third time, in the late afternoon, a terrorist entered and looked down at the group of shivering Israelis.

“He saw they were terrified, and he just robbed them,” Maya said. “They survived by God’s miracle.”

They were rescued by law enforcement six hours after first entering the booth. One friend of Maya’s, however, wasn’t as lucky.

The friend stuck around the main area to give injections and apply tourniquets to the wounded. She was later found murdered. Her name was Liron Barda.

“Liron is a hero,” her family members and friends wrote in a recent joint social media post, adding she “died saving lives.”

“She is the complete opposite of the people who murdered her,” the post reads. “While they sanctify death, she sanctified life. We hope she is now lying in a suite in heaven, where she is most served to be and rest in peace.”

Liron Barda saved lives at the Re’im music festival massacre in Israel. October 2023. Provided by Maya Izoutcheev

‘Heroic stories’

Maya is still at her parents’ house. She’s staying there for the time being and not working. She has difficulty sleeping and eating. She has panic attacks and cries uncontrollably. And she is still coming to terms with the fact that terrorists earlier this month kidnapped and murdered her friends.

But while life isn’t easy after the deadly terror attack, and Israelis are in trauma, Maya has a message for Hamas.


“We’re not going to remember this trauma the way they want us to,” she said. “Because they want us to remember the fear and the horrors and the terrible, terrible videos, and the rape, and the bodies, but we will remember the people laughing, and we will always remember the energy, and remember the heroism.”

“Because there are a lot of heroic stories,” Maya said.

Original Location: Maya Izoutcheev’s harrowing escape from Israeli music festival attacked by Hamas terrorists


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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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