She May Have Been Seized by a Mob, Not Hamas

NBC reports Noa Argamani was likely abducted by Gazan men who followed the militants
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2023 8:44 AM CST
She May Have Been Seized by a Mob, Not Hamas
In this image from video obtained by the AP, Noa Argamani is seen after being seized at the music festival.   (AP Photo)

Fourteen women remain held captive after the Hamas raid of Israel in October, and the medialine has details on all of them. The name likely to be most familiar on the list is that of Noa Argamani, who was taken hostage at the Nova music festival. Video of a terrified-looking Argamani reaching out to her boyfriend as she is driven away on a motorcycle went viral and became emblematic of the day's devastation, per NDTV. A second short video soon emerged of Argamani in captivity, drinking water, but since then family and friends have had no word. Now NBC News appears to have unearthed new details about her plight—including that it may not have been Hamas who abducted her. Coverage:

  • Not Hamas? NBC reports she may have been seized by "a mob of Gazans that swept into Israel hours after the initial attack." The information is based on phone records, satellite images, and human sources, and could explain why Argamani, a Chinese-Israeli citizen, was not freed by Hamas during last month's ceasefire. Hamas may not be holding her or even know her whereabouts, per the story. The implications of that for her fate were unclear.

  • Messages, images: The story recounts text messages Argamani and boyfriend Avinatan Or sent to friends as the attack unfolded and they tried to hide. One image sent by Or shows Argamani in a near fetal position near him as they hide amid what looks like hay. "It's crazy here," he wrote. In one Argamani sent, she wrote "can't get out" of a festival parking lot. The last messages were sent about 10:45am, and NBC's analysis suggests the pair were captured around midday. The attack began at sunrise. Or, whose fate is unclear as well, is 29. Argamani turned 26 in captivity.
  • A plea: The state of Israel's official account on X made a plea for Argamani earlier this month on Hanukkah. "We ask that you light the first candle for Noa Argamani who is currently being held hostage in Gaza by Hamas terrorists" reads the post on Dec. 7. Family members have made similar pleas, pointing out that Argamani's mother, Liora, has terminal brain cancer. "My one wish would be to hug and see Noa before something happens to me," she told the Daily Mail. "I know she is a strong girl. We're waiting for her. Only the thought of her coming home keeps me strong."
(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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