Raider Two could be seen lining up the hostages. Starting from one side she began to gun them down; delivering one shot each to their faces, ensuring that each screamed as she or he saw death coming. Acrid gun smoke furled up in the air.
As Raider Two proceeded the killing became more brutal. She shot the sixth hostage first in the lower jaw. His soundless scream rang out. Only then did she put one between his eyes. The eighth was shot twice in the knees before her coup de grace. The eleventh, the American cousin visiting Israel, was begging for mercy when she put the muzzle against his stomach. There was a soundless click as the firing pin slammed down on an empty chamber.
The kneeling hostage looked up. Amazed. Shocked. Then he vomited.
By now Raider Two was directly in front of the security camera overhead. Probably she was aware of it and had positioned the hostages to ensure it caught their slaughter in gory detail. Dropping the now empty assault rifle she unsheathed a wicked knife from her ankle holster.
The hostage was still vomiting when she reached down grabbed his hair and yanked his head back. The knife moved in a quick diagonal slash across the throat. He gurgled and then slumped forward. His blood rained out in droplets on Raider Two’s hands. She licked her lips as she wiped it clean on her pant leg. There was madness in her eyes.
On the second half of the screen, recording all this on a Blackberry, Raider One had been moving in tandem with Raider Two. They saw an odd expression on her face; as though she wanted it all to end, yet was fascinated by what she was seeing. Her mouth was slightly, almost erotically, open and her chest heaved. And now and then her tongue forayed out and moistened her lips.
By the time Raider Two moved to the twelfth man her breath was coming in rasping gasps, eyes blazing and splatters of blood pockmarked her.
The final hostage did not scream. There was an amazing calm in how he stared at her, perhaps a touch of pity. His lips were moving as though praying… for her.
The surge of anger on Raider Two’s face at his lack of fear was palpable. Perhaps that he was a Jew fueled her anger. Shifting the knife’s angle she sliced out his right ear. The hostage screamed now.
The scream goaded Raider Two on. She sliced off the second ear now. The scream this time seemed to go on forever. Raider Two reversed her hold on the knife and drove it into the hostage’s right eye. The scream ended abruptly as the knife entered the brain and drove life out of him.
Raider Two stood frozen, with the knife buried in the hostage’s skull. She seemed depleted. As though it was not just the hostage that had died. As though something inside her had died too.
Watching it on the Blackberry’s 3.25-inch touch screen, Raider One smiled. She began tapping out something on the keypad.
Yes. She would have needed to get the recording out.
Raider One watched impatiently as the file slowly uploaded, mentally goading it on, aware that time was now desperately short.
The transmission must have completed because she gave a satisfied nod and was putting the phone away when a stun grenade smashed through the nearby window. It exploded with a mind numbing roar and blinding flash, so bright that it dazzled Peled’s audience.
The two raiders were reeling when IDF commandoes raced in and unleashed a hail of bullets into them.
Their mission complete, the two terrorists triggered their camera bombs and death claimed them.
Raider Five raced into the central hall. She saw her teammates were down and reached for the trigger of her camera bomb.
A commando had turned when he heard her run in and got off two shots off even as her hand was reaching for the camera bomb.
His first bullet missed. The second whipped past her temple. It grazed deeply enough to make her reel and clutch at the wound.
Like a flash the commando was upon her.
The carnage was over.
The task force commander now raced into the mosque. He came to a stunned stop as he surveyed the horrifying bodies. He turned to the commando who had captured Raider Five.
‘Keep that fucking bitch alive. We need to find out who was behind this. Whoever it is will pay. By God they will.’