Noa Argamani grew to become the face of the Nova music competition hostages

BE’ER SHEVA, Israel — The video of her kidnapping has been seen world wide. 

A hand outstretched, terror etched on her face, screaming as she is carried away on the again of a motorbike, the roughly 10-second clip grew to become an immediate image of Israel’s hostage disaster. 

However greater than two months after Noa Argamani was kidnapped from the Supernova, or Nova, music competition in the course of the Oct. 7 terrorist assault, she stays a captive in Gaza. At the same time as different younger civilian ladies had been launched throughout a weeklong ceasefire in November, there was no signal of Argamani. 

NBC Information has uncovered data indicating she might not have been kidnapped by Hamas, however was as an alternative almost certainly kidnapped by a mob of Gazans that swept into Israel hours after the preliminary assault. Which will clarify why she was not launched in the course of the November cease-fire: Hamas might not be holding her, and even know the place she is.   

Argamani is amongst 14 feminine civilians who’ve but to be launched by their captors. Greater than two months after she was taken hostage, family and friends are rising extra determined to know her destiny, and why she hasn’t been freed alongside about 100 others. 

Noa Argamani grew to become the face of the Nova music competition hostages
Noa Argamani is pictured along with her buddy Noa Stern in one among Argamani’s favourite locations in Be’er Sheva earlier than she was taken hostage.Provided to NBC Information

“Once you see somebody you’re keen on a lot and an individual that’s so near you on this scenario, you simply get loopy,” Amir Moadi, 29, a roommate and buddy of Argamani’s, stated in an interview. “As a result of there’s nothing you are able to do.”   

Whereas it’s recognized Hamas terrorists took hostages in the course of the assault, who took Argamani is much less clear, in response to textual content messages, cellphone data, satellite tv for pc pictures and human sources, in addition to an NBC Information evaluation of the solar’s place throughout her abduction. The knowledge signifies that she might not have been seized by Hamas militants in any respect, and as an alternative might have been taken by one other group of males who adopted skilled Hamas fighters out of the blockaded Palestinian enclave into Israel.

Moadi realized Argamani had been taken from the Nova music competition close to Re’im when he noticed the video that despatched shockwaves world wide. He watched the footage of his shut buddy being pushed away and reaching out towards her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, as their assailants marched him behind her. Israeli officers say that as many as 350 folks had been killed on the competition.

Noa Argamani.
Noa Argamani.through Fb

A second video posted to social media on Oct. 7 confirmed Argamani, who turned 26 in captivity, sitting on a settee consuming from a water bottle. Two folks with naked toes may very well be seen strolling behind her. It gave a few of her associates hope she was OK.

“It’s loopy to say, however … I used to be grateful that she’s not lifeless as a result of I noticed different movies and I noticed what occurred to different folks,” Moadi stated. 

For Argamani’s family members, efforts to free her really feel like a race in opposition to time as a result of her mom, Liora, has terminal mind most cancers, Moadi stated. They’re determined to know why she wasn’t amongst these exchanged in an prolonged hostage-prisoner swap earlier than talks between Israel and Hamas collapsed on Dec. 1. 

‘Can’t get out’

As information of Hamas’ assault — by which 1,200 folks had been killed and 240 taken hostage, in response to Israeli officers — unfold all through Israel early on Oct. 7, Argamani and Or’s family members started to fret for his or her security. They knew they had been round 3 miles  from the border with Gaza. 

A flurry of textual content messages reviewed by NBC Information reveals the couple’s and their associates’ mounting panic.

In a photograph despatched to a buddy at 7:46 a.m., about an hour after Hamas started its assault, Argamani, an information science engineering scholar, may be seen smiling and making a peace signal, reassuring anxious associates. The picture was despatched by one other buddy who had attended the competition  — Ori Tchernichovsky, 29, who would later be killed. 

In some unspecified time in the future earlier than his dying, associates stated Tchernichovsky’s cellphone historical past revealed he had a  roughly 7-minute name with Argamani, however it’s unclear what was stated. Tchernichovsky’s associates discovered concerning the name when his cellphone was returned to his household after he was discovered lifeless.

Avinatan Or takes a photo as he and Noa Argamani hide from attackers at the Nova festival on Oct. 7.
Avinatan Or takes a photograph as he and Noa Argamani conceal from attackers on the Nova competition on Oct. 7.Provided to NBC Information

At 8:10 a.m., Argamani messaged a special buddy, saying she was in a car parking zone and “can’t get out.” Her buddy warned her to “conceal,” including: “Let me know that every little thing is o.ok.” 

At 9:08 a.m., Argamani despatched that buddy a stay location, saying she hoped “anyone will come and save us.”

Or, Argamani’s boyfriend, despatched a selfie to a different buddy at 9:24 a.m., concern written on his face. Argamani lies huddled within the fetal place in entrance of him as they conceal from their attackers. “It’s loopy right here,” he messaged.

At 9:32 a.m., Or informed his buddy there have been round 20 folks searching for anybody hiding so they might “lynch them.” Later, he stated the attackers had been discovering folks and killing them one after the other.

The final message he despatched his buddy was delivered at 10:19 a.m., thanking them for letting him know that authorities had been both on the competition web site or on the best way. 

The final message NBC Information has seen despatched by Argamani was delivered at 10:27 a.m., after a buddy informed her she heard others had been in a position to escape the competition web site in a car. “We don’t have a automobile,” Argamani stated. 

Or’s buddy, Dolev Kikos, 27, stated his messages had been going by way of as of 10:43 a.m. However they appeared undelivered shortly after, suggesting Or’s cellphone was both lifeless or turned off. 

A still from video shows Avinatan Or as he appears to be captured In Israel by a group of men on Oct. 7, 2023.
A nonetheless from video reveals Avinatan Or as he seems to be captured In Israel by a bunch of males on Oct. 7, 2023.through Telegram

The evaluation of the solar and shadows that seem within the video of the couple’s seize means that Or and Argamani had been almost certainly kidnapped a number of hours into the assault and nearer to noon than dawn, when the assault started.

Holding out hope

Argamani’s associates stated they felt hopeful final month when a deal to free hostages in Gaza amid a cease-fire was repeatedly prolonged. Greater than 100 folks had been launched over seven days. However on Dec. 1, their hopes had been shattered when the truce fell aside. 

“She simply slipped from the fingers,” Yan Gorjaltsan, an in depth buddy of Argamani’s informed NBC Information. 

“Each one among us imagined her again house,” Gorjaltsan, 27, informed NBC Information as he sat with a bunch of associates in one among Argamani’s favourite locations in her hometown of Be’er Sheva — a sandy hill overlooking the Negev desert the place she would typically go alone to seek out peace or unwind.

“We noticed her with us once more,” he stated.

The cease-fire additionally introduced hope to Argamani’s mom and father, Yaacov Argamani, who had been determined to see their solely little one reunited with Liora, whose situation continues to deteriorate.

By the point the cease-fire fell aside, the variety of hostages held in Gaza had fallen from 240 to lower than 140. Of these, the bulk are males who had been by no means a part of the hostage deal, in addition to not less than 19 ladies, 14 of whom are civilians. 


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