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British citizen ‘missing’ after Hamas gunmen storm Israeli music festival and drag away hostages


A British citizen is “missing near Gaza” after Hamas militants attacked a music festival and seized partygoers as hostages during their unprecedented incursion across the border with Israel, the country’s embassy in the UK has said.

Israel has declared itself to be at war and has launched relentless retaliatory strikes on Gaza after it was caught off-guard by the heavily coordinated incursion on Saturday morning, which saw Hamas breach the heavily-fortified border and open fire on Israelis living nearby.

Thousands of partygoers fled a rave near the border as it was attacked by militants, who were filmed seizing one woman and taking her away on a motorbike.

British citizen Jake Marlowe has not been heard from since Saturday morning and is “missing near Gaza” after the attack on the festival, the Israeli embassy told Sky News.

The 26-year-old’s mother, Lisa, said her son had been providing security at the rave in the desert near Kibbutz Re’im when the surprise attack unfolded, with Hamas firing thousands of rockets into Israel nearly 50 years to the day since the outset of the brutal Yom Kippur war.

“He was doing security at this rave yesterday and called me at 4.30am to say all these rockets were flying over,” Ms Marlowe told Jewish News. “Then, at about 5.30am, he texted to say, ‘signal very bad, everything OK, will keep you updated I promise you,’ and that he loves me”.

The Independent has approached the embassy and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development for comment.

Terrified Israeli residents living near the Gaza border hid in their homes and barricaded themselves in safe rooms on Saturday, as civilians and soldiers alike were shot by Hamas in the streets outside, with others seized and taken to Gaza to be held as hostages.

Palestinians ride on an Israeli military vehicle taken by an army base overrun by Hamas militants near the Gaza Strip fence

(AP)

At least 300 Israelis have been killed, including 26 soldiers, according to Israeli media, while Palestinian authorities have reported at least 313 fatalities as Israel launched relentless retaliatory strikes on Gaza.

Esther Borochov was among thousands who fled the rave attacked by the gunmen, and described surviving only by playing dead in a car after the driver trying to help her escape was shot at point-blank range.

“I couldn’t move my legs,” she told Reuters from hospital. “Soldiers came and took us away to the bushes.”

Harrowing footage showed a 25-year-old woman being driven away on a Palestinian gunman’s motorcycle as she pleaded “don’t kill me”. Her boyfriend, who was also in the footage being dragged away, is also believed to have been taken hostage, his brother told Israeli broadcaster Channel 12 News.

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