Hamas gunmen bombed a southern Israeli kibbutz near Gaza on Saturday, sparking the Israel-Palestine war. From his hospital bed in south Israel’s Be’er Sheva, Rotem Mathias revealed his harrowing Hamas extreme encounter.
Hamas militants went into the young Israeli-American’s home, shot and killed his parents, and left him for dead.
After hearing about the attack, Mathias said his family locked themselves in with mattresses and tables at the entryway. Hamas terrorists shot open the door.
Rotem saw his parents, Shlomi and Deborah Mathias, brutally murdered. Intruders shot Debbie Mathias dead, and a grenade removed Shlomi’s arm. The bullet that killed Debbie passed through her, hitting Rotem’s stomach.
The Israeli-American teen had nowhere to hide, so he pretended to be dead. According to Mathias, some militants laughed while assessing the victims.
While his mother’s body lay on him, Mathias feigned death for 30 minutes. Relatives told the Associated Press that Mathias hid behind a bed and later under a blanket in the laundry room after Hamas departed his home.
Israeli troops stepped in and saved Mathias.
Two of the Mathiases’ daughters hid in protected kibbutz locations as their parents were killed.
Shir Mathias, 21, remembers hearing gunfire, yelling, explosions, and cars exploding.
Before her death, Hamas militants entered the kibbutz, so the mother told her daughters not to leave the safe room door unlocked. IDF soldiers found the daughters in bunkers after 12 hours, reports say.
I quietly packed, ran to my sister’s house, and knocked. She thought I was a terrorist. “When I said her name, she came,” said 19-year-old Shakked Mathias. After that, we were inseparable.
A few hours before the suspected murder occurred, Shir recalls her mother saying goodbye.
“Mom said ‘Bye’ before I left home. I said I love you.” She said she hugged her mom and dad. That was the last time she saw them.
Israel-Hamas war has killed 1,300 Israelis and nearly 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza.