Student tells of attack on the Red Sea road

Boyfriend shot dead after couple hitch lift to kibbutz

A British student who saw her boyfriend shot dead and was injured herself by a man who gave them a lift as they travelled in Israel described the attack to The Independent last night.

Charlotte Gibb, 20, from a village near Peterborough, told how the attacker shot and killed Max Hunter, a 22-year-old law student from Banstead, Surrey, on the desert road north from the Red Sea resort of Eilat before dawn yesterday.

Ms Gibb, who was at Durham University with Mr Hunter, was out of danger in a Beersheba hospital, where she was recovering from surgery for fractures to an arm. She had shot gun injuries to her face and hands.

Her voice faltered, close to tears. Her speech was slurred, as if she were feeling the effect of the pain-killing drugs doctors administered after she came out of the operating theatre. She still referred to her boyfriend in the present tense, though she knew he was dead.

"Max had arranged for us to go to a kibbutz near Tiberias," she said. "We were hitching a lift from Eilat. A man who looked about forty or fifty picked us up. I was in the back seat with our bags. Max, who speaks Hebrew, sat in the front talking to the driver. I fell asleep.

"The next thing I knew, Max was shaking my leg, saying, `Are you awake?' We had stopped somewhere in the desert. The car lights were off, and it was pitch dark. The moon was hidden. The driver had got out and was looking for something. He asked us to put our bags in the boot, which we did.

"The driver lit a cigarette. We thought we'd have one too. Suddenly I saw yellow flashes. I thought this can't really be happening. He shot Max, then before I could try to get away he shot me.

"I lay behind the car, pretending to be dead. He shot Max again, then came back and shot me again. Then he drove off. I thought this is it. I'm going to die. I was losing blood. I was half unconscious, but managed to drag myself to the road. I shouted for my boyfriend, but I knew he was dead. After about half an hour, a van of Israeli soldiers rescued me."

The soldiers raised the alarm and a military helicopter evacuated Ms Gibb to Seroka hospital, where she arrived about 4.15am. The killer's motive was as puzzling to Ms Gibb as it was to the police.

Although she could not follow the Hebrew, and the driver did not understand when she asked him a question in English, he and her boyfriend did not raise their voices and did not seem to be arguing. In retrospect, however, she felt that he intended all along to shoot them. "Why else," she asked, "did he make an excuse to get us out of the car?"

Hundreds of police were combing southern Israel last night, hunting for the killer. The police were treating the case as criminal, rather than political. According to an unconfirmed Israel Radio report, the assailant was thought to be an Israeli Arab (Ms Gibb could not tell whether he was a Jew or an Arab). Detectives were checking whether he had fled across the border to Egypt.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
FIFA President Sepp Blatter reacts during a news conference in Zurich June 1, 2011
news
News
people
Life and Style
food + drink
News
peopleKatie Hopkins criticises River Island's 'seize the day' bags for trying to normalise epilepsy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family
film'I survived it, but I’ll never be the same,' says Arash Amel
Life and Style
Retailers should make good any consumer goods problems that occur within two years
tech(and what to do if you receive it)
Life and Style
healthIf one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Life and Style
tech
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith