SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt - The hot months of July and August are the peak season for tourists heading for Sherm el-Sheikh, the preferred holiday destination for Israeli Arab tourists.
But instead of relaxing on the magical beaches, they found themselves in the middle of a terror attack that struck the desert haven on Saturday night.
Borhan and Rasmiya Zabaidat, a couple from Mevasemet Tivon, were in a cab driving to the ancient city in Sharam when they heard an explosion.
“We saw huge flashes and a lot of fire,” they told ynet. “We got out of the cab and started to run, and we noticed a second group that was running away, towards us. Then we realized we were going in the direction of the second blast. There was mass panic, it was terrifying. We didn’t know what to do, we stood and started to yell.”
Borhan said the most frightening moment was when he lost his 5 year-old daughter, Shahad, in the middle of the pandemonium.
“That pressured us even more. Only after a long hour did we find our daughter and we calmed down.”
Rasmaya said that since the explosion she has suffered shakes in her entire body, and headaches.
“I didn’t sleep the whole night. I still see the people yelling. I see us running from one explosion to another.”
Egyptian security forces have been engaged in an apparent effort to downplay the attacks, and said last night that the incident was caused due to a electric pole, or an explosion of a gas balloon.
But the Israelis, with experience, knew what had happened. “It was clear that this was something much larger. The people here were insanely pressurized. Just to think that you don’t know where to escape because in every place people are talking about explosions.”
The couple added that the Egyptians did not respond appropriately and did not rush to help the injured.
'They charged for water'
Rasmaya said that "people who were close to the incident were asked to bring water to those injured or suffering from shock, but they wanted us to pay for the water. A cabdriver we stopped also exploited the situation, and took 70 lira for a ride that would normally cost 20 lira, maximum.”
Borhan said he could not find the words to describe the scenes he witnessed.
“After the explosion we realized that the vehicle we were traveling in was damaged. I saw people strewn on the floor and parts of cars flying in the air. I was sure that something terrible happened, something very scary. It was not surprising that in the middle of this chaos I lost my little girl. Thank God, she was found safe, but not well, because emotionally she will need treatment.”
Roni Gal and Seya Egozy contributed to this report