‘Daddy, there is nowhere to hide’: Grieving father reveals haunting last moments of daughter murdered by Hamas terrorists at Supernova festival whose body was identified by flower tattoo

The moment when Eran Litman last communicated with his daughter Oriya – 8:36 am – will be forever etched in his memory.

The 59-year-old software engineer had been woken up a few hours earlier by his eldest daughter Yahali. When she couldn’t reach her father, who was sleeping, Oriya had frantically called her sister and told her she was in danger.

Yahali immediately called their father and broke the news that her sister was involved in a terrorist attack.

Oriya, 26, was among 3,500 partygoers at the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im in southern Israel when thousands of Hamas terrorists launched a surprise attack on the country in the early hours of October 7, killing 1,200 people.

The rampage at the festival left 360 innocent people dead.

The moment when Eran Litman last communicated with his daughter Oriya – 8:36 am – will be forever etched in his memory

Oriya pictured with her father during a skiing holiday in Georgia in 2023. She was one of 3,500 revelers at the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re'im in southern Israel when thousands of Hamas terrorists launched a surprise attack.

Oriya pictured with her father during a skiing holiday in Georgia in 2023. She was one of 3,500 revelers at the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im in southern Israel when thousands of Hamas terrorists launched a surprise attack.

Eran, who is in London for work during our conversation, is spoken softly with a friendly face. His face lights up as he tells me about Oriya’s childhood: their wonderful memories of skiing, camping by the sea every summer and going on safari in Tanzania.

“She was a terrible teenager,” he laughs. ‘All the white hairs on my head are because of her. She loved parties.”

Father and daughter were close and met regularly for Friday night dinners. “My cooking skills have improved because of her,” he laughs.

But look into his eyes and it’s clear he’s a broken man.

Eran doesn’t blame the police or the military for what happened that day. “No amount of death or revenge will bring Oriya back,” he says.

However, he is more critical of the Israeli government. Eran is part of a campaign group, Families of October 7, which is demanding answers about how the attack happened, as well as better help for the surviving relatives.

They have also called for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose popularity has fallen significantly since the war broke out.

“We have told the government to take responsibility for what happened. We don’t trust them,” he says. “I just want a new government that will work for the Israeli people. My dream is to make peace with our Arab neighbors. This government can’t do it. We don’t want another attack on Israel.’

'I called Oriya via WhatsApp.  Her first words to me were: "Dad, you can't imagine how much I love you.  I love you so much"

‘I called Oriya via WhatsApp. Her first words to me were: “Daddy, you can’t imagine how much I love you. I love you so much.”

Eran doesn't blame the police or the military for what happened that day.  “No amount of death or revenge will bring Oriya back,” he says

Eran doesn’t blame the police or the military for what happened that day. “No amount of death or revenge will bring Oriya back,” he says

Oriya (pictured on a skiing holiday in 2023) and her two friends, brother and sister Sharon and Schahar Manzur, were in a car and had managed to escape the gunmen at the festival

Oriya (pictured on a skiing holiday in 2023) and her two friends, brother and sister Sharon and Schahar Manzur, were in a car and had managed to escape the gunmen at the festival

He tears up as he remembers that last conversation with the youngest of his three daughters, who had long, colorful nails and dreamed of becoming a manicurist.

‘I called Oriya via WhatsApp. Her first words to me were, “Dad, you can’t imagine how much I love you. I love you so much. You don’t know how sorry I am that I couldn’t meet you for coffee yesterday.”

Oriya and her two friends, brother and sister Sharon and Schahar Manzur, were in a car and had managed to escape the gunmen at the festival. They desperately tried to find refuge in Kibbutz Mefalsim, near the Gaza border.

Just 500 meters from the kibbutz gate, their car overturned after being shot at by terrorists wearing Israeli police uniforms. Schahar died in Oriya’s arms. Sharon had called her brother out of desperation, but he was killed by the terrorists on his way to rescue her.

“At first I thought Oriya was on drugs, because who can believe this kind of talk in the morning?” says Eran.

‘I was on the phone with her and called the police at the same time, trying to get help. She said to me, “Daddy, there is nowhere to hide.”

“I told her, ‘Don’t talk to anyone, save your phone battery and go hide.’

With the gunshots growing louder in the background, Oriya must have known the terrorists were close. Perhaps at that moment she realized what a horrible fate was about to befall her.

In grim anticipation, she began sending messages to her loved ones: her big sisters Lia and Yahali, and her boyfriend Yishai.

‘She wrote to her sister: ‘You are everything to me, goodbye’. She said to me: “Don’t come here, they will kill you”. She was very brave because she told me not to come. She was so calm.”

The memory is too much for Eran, who bursts into tears again. After taking a moment to compose himself, he adds, “It’s a horrible feeling to see terrorists coming at you with guns, not knowing if you’re going to be killed, raped or held hostage. It’s terrible to die like this.’

Oriya was last active on her phone at 8:45 am.  Her family hoped – prayed – that she was a hostage, and that one day they would be reunited with her

Oriya was last active on her phone at 8:45 am. Her family hoped – prayed – that she was a hostage, and that one day they would be reunited with her

The memory of Oriya's last moments was too much for Eran as he burst into tears: 'It's a horrible feeling to see terrorists coming towards you with weapons'

The memory of Oriya’s last moments was too much for Eran as he burst into tears: ‘It’s a horrible feeling to see terrorists coming towards you with weapons’

Oriya's body was found under a eucalyptus tree.  She had been shot in the stomach.  Her father has since visited the site (pictured)

Oriya’s body was found under a eucalyptus tree. She had been shot in the stomach. Her father has since visited the site (pictured)

Eran at the tree where his daughter's body was found.  She was identified by her signature flower tattoo on her stomach

Eran at the tree where his daughter’s body was found. She was identified by her signature flower tattoo on her stomach

The area is now full of leaves and is no longer as bare as in October.  “If that attack had happened now, five months later, the people who escaped the terrorists would have had a place to hide,” Eran says.

The area is now full of leaves and is no longer as bare as in October. “If that attack had happened now, five months later, the people who escaped the terrorists would have had a place to hide,” Eran says.

When Hamas unleashed unspeakable horrors on Israel, they seized 240 hostages and brought them to the Gaza Strip. About 130 are still being held, but it is believed that perhaps 30 of them may be dead.

Oriya was last active on her phone at 8:45 am. Her family hoped – prayed – that she was a hostage, and that one day they would be reunited with her.

On October 10, Oriya’s friend Yishai went to the site of the attack. There were several bodies under a eucalyptus tree, many unrecognizable.

Yishai identified her by the distinctive flower tattoo on her stomach. She had been shot in the stomach.

Eran has since visited that spot, now full of foliage and not as bare as in October. “If that attack had happened now, five months later, the people who escaped the terrorists would have had a place to hide,” he says.

Oriya was buried on October 15 in Caesarea, a northern city on Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

“One of my daughters just doesn’t function anymore,” says Eran. ‘She can’t even cook for herself. She doesn’t even go to the supermarket. We all live in trauma. On October 6, I went to bed with one person and on the morning of October 7, another person woke up.”

Attempts are being made to broker a ceasefire, but peace still seems far away. Any deal for a pause in the fighting would see Hamas freeing some Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

In the meantime, Eran remains optimistic. ‘I really hope the hostages come back. It will let us breathe again.

‘Right now we live in dark times. We just want a normal like you have in London. We want our hostages back.”