The family of an Israeli woman who was kidnapped by the Hamas group has released the harrowing tape of her last moments before she was taken into captivity. 23-year-old Romi Gonen called her mother, Meirav, just moments after the car in which she was fleeing the Nova Music Festival in October was ambushed by the Hamas group, the New York Post reported.
Ms Gonen had been on the phone with her mother all morning. She was in the car with friends when she told her mother at 10:15 that they had been shot and she was bleeding.
“They shot me, Mom and I’m bleeding,” Romi told her mother. “Everyone in the car is bleeding.”
Her best friend Gaya Halifa, 24, lay dying in front of her.
Trying to comfort her daughter, Meirav, 54, told Ms Gonen, “Romichoo, I’m with you, sweetheart. Everything is going to be OK.
“We will go to the hospital – you will get better and we will take a trip anywhere you wish together … I am with you, my beauty,” Meirav says in the clip, originally obtained by the Daily Mail.
Ms Gonen was shot in the arm and lost movement in her hand. She made sure her mother was still listening on the other end.
Ms Gonen’s mother tried to ask about the details of the cars she was in so that she could send help. But when she got no response, the mother assured her, “Romily, you’re not alone. You’re with me, my beautiful one. Everything is OK.”
Meirav stayed on the line for 45 minutes, but they did not release the entire recording as it was too painful.
Romi Gonen informed her mother at 10.14 am, “Mom, we were ambushed.”
“The driver is probably dead. Gaya was shot and she’s not answering. Ofir was shot, and I was shot in my arm,” the daughter said, according to the Daily Mail.
“Mommy, just so you know, I’ll be dead if no one will come.”
Meirav decided to record the call.
“My mom told us she understood that no one was coming,” said Yarden, Romi’s older sister.
“She changed her voice to be much more calm, loving, just telling her how much she loved her and that everything will be OK.”
“She said she wanted her to hear her voice loud and clear, that she will know there is hope and that she will fight for her and that she loves her.”
In the final moments of the call, Meirav promised they would return to the cafe they were dining at just three days earlier, and “you will tell me everything after you heal.”
The Hamas group soon arrived and opened the car and then could be heard debating whether to kill her and a man she was travelling with, Ofir Tzarfati, 27.
In the clip, the Hamas group could be heard arguing over who got to kidnap her, according to the Daily Mail.
Ultimately, they dragged Romi away and took her as a hostage.
Tzarfati was later confirmed dead, as was Halifa and the man who risked his own life to rescue them – Ben Shimoni, 31, who earned the title “the Angel of Nova.”
Romi, a trained medic, tried to take her pulse when she was shot.
For 55 days, the Gonen family said, they did not know for certain what had happened to Romi.
Finally, as hostages were released in November, a few approached them and reported they saw her alive in Gaza, Yarden said, the New York Post reported.
The Hamas attack, in which Israel says 1,200 people were killed, sparked the nearly seven-week-old war in Gaza. Israel says its mission is to eradicate Hamas and return the roughly 240 hostages held in Gaza.