The rockets began around 6:30 a.m., Tal Gibly told CNN. Thirty minutes later, she and hundreds of others attending a music festival were running as Gaza militants fired at them.
The outdoor event in a rural farmland area near the Gaza-Israel border was supposed to be an all-night dance party, celebrating the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. But as dawn broke, Gibly said they began hearing sirens and rockets.
“We didn’t even have any place to hide because we were at [an] open space,” she told CNN. “Everyone got so panicked and started to take their stuff.”
Explosions can be heard in video taken by Gibly of her and friends walking through the quickly emptying concert grounds, roughly two miles from the border.
“Ima’le,” someone is heard saying, a common Israeli expression of fear or feeling startled.
Gibly and the others didn’t know it, but less than two miles away, Gaza militants had also begun attacking Israeli tanks and soldiers.
When attendees fled in their cars, Gibly said the roadways became clogged and no one could move. That’s when the gunshots began, she says.
Gibly began taking more video of the traffic jam.
“Drive forward, drive forward,” someone is heard saying.
An Israeli military vehicle is seen driving against the flow of traffic. People on the road are seen trying to get other cars to make way for it.
“Oh my God, oh my God… because of the infiltrators.”
Someone outside the car is heard screaming, “Go! Go forward! Go forward!”
That’s when Gibly said she and her friends panicked, abandoned the car, and began running.
Video circulating on social media shows that scene as hundreds of attendees fled their cars. Gunshots are heard in the background as many are seen running across an empty field.
CNN is not airing the video in its entirety because as the gunfire draws near, a number of people are seen falling to the ground. It’s not clear from the video whether the people falling are taking cover from gunfire, or if they are being hit by gunfire.
Ortel, another survivor who attended the festival, described a scene of chaos and panic as militants started firing at the convoy of fleeing vehicles.
“Suddenly out of nowhere, shots are coming in,” she told Israel’s Channel 12 television station.
“They started shooting in every direction and I took the car keys and just drove and started moving forward to get out of the shots.”
“And at some point they overtook us. We were overtaken by the shooters. They started shooting at our vehicles. We got out of the vehicles. I didn’t keep driving. We took cover.”
Gibly told CNN she ran to the forest, and after about an hour, came across a car driving down the road.
“We got in and still heard a lot of gunshots,” she said.
She saw a number of dead and injured people on the sides of the road, but one stuck with her.
Another video shows that scene: one concertgoer was shot dead outside a van, and another dead in the passenger seat of the vehicle.
Gibly confirmed video obtained by CNN of the scene showed the two victims that she saw.
“It was so terrifying and we didn’t know where to drive to not meet those evil…people,” she said. “I have a lot of friends that got lost at the forest for a lot of hours and got shot like it was a range.”
Right now, Gibly is trying to get in touch with her friends who were also at the concert. She says she doesn’t know if others survived, were taken prisoner, or worse.