Shani Louk: Family of missing Israeli-German woman say she has died
Kidnapped Shani Louk is dead, her family announces, after 'bone from the base of her skull' is found three weeks after she was abducted by Hamas terrorists and paraded on the back of a truck
Kidnapped Shani Louk's family have announced that she is dead after a bone from the base of her skull was found three weeks
after she was abducted by Hamas terrorists at the Nova electronic festival and paraded on the back of a truck.
Ms Louk, 22, was kidnapped from Israel to Gaza by Hamas terrorists on October 7 from the festival near Kibbutz Reim. Hamas gunmen took at least 239 hostages and killed about 1,400 people during the dawn raid.
For more than three weeks, Ms Louk's family prayed that the German-Israeli could be saved from the terrorists.
But Ms Louk's mother and sister today announced that she was dead.
'Unfortunately we got the news yesterday that my daughter is no longer alive,' mother Ricarda said on German broadcaster RTL. Shani's sister Adi wrote on Instagram that she 'announced with great sadness the death of my sister'.
Ms Louk's cousin told the Jerusalem Post that the family were told by the Israeli Defence Forces that a bone from the base of the 22-year-old's skull had been found.
The IDF and volunteers from the Zaka emergency response team said the bone from the base of a skull, without which a person can't survive, matched with Ms Louk's DNA.
The exact circumstances of Ms Louk's death are as of yet unclear and it is also not known where the bone was found.
Ms Louk was paraded by Hamas gunmen after the festival attack in Israel. Video had earlier shown her dancing at the music event.
It was unclear if she was alive in the video, although her mother later stated that she was alive and being held in a Gaza hospital.
Ms Louk's boyfriend, Mexican national Orión Hernández Radoux, is also believed to have been taken by terrorists in the attack.
Her family had blasted the German government for ignoring their pleas for help after they were told she was still alive in Gaza.
Ms Louk's aunt Orly Louk and her uncle Wilfried Gehr pleaded with the German government in a television interview on the programme 'ZDF heute' days after her kidnap.
They said: 'We've been begging the German government to help for three days now.
'We are unsettled and totally disappointed that the Federal Government does not feel responsible. One from the Foreign Office said he doesn't have time because they have to rebook flights. That makes me so angry.'
Shani is German but grew up in Israel, and was one of hundreds of unsuspecting partygoers at the Nova festival where Hamas conducted a massacre of some 260 civilians.
According to 'Der Spiegel' magazine, the tattoo artist and pacifist had never lived in Germany, but has a German passport and visited her grandparents in Ravensburg in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg several times.
It came one day after Shani's mother Ricarda - a Catholic who later converted to Judaism and emigrated to Israel - revealed she received word from Palestine that her daughter is still alive.
The news had provided fresh hope after videos emerged of an unconscious and partially naked Shani being paraded through the streets by Hamas terrorists as onlookers spat on her motionless body.
Ricarda Louk told German outlet Bild on on October 10: 'We now have evidence that Shani is alive but has a serious head injury and is in critical condition. Every minute is critical.
'You have to act quickly and get Shani out of the Gaza Strip!' she declared in the message directed at German officials. We shouldn't argue about questions of jurisdiction now!'
Orly said Shani had refused to take up the military service that is mandatory for Israelis due to her pacifist views, adding that her German passport helped with this.
Ricarda earlier released a heartbreaking video begging for help to find out what happened to her daughter.
Holding a picture of Shani on her mobile phone, Ricarda said on October 9: 'This morning my daughter, Shani Nicole Louk, a German citizen, was kidnapped with a group of tourists in southern Israel by Palestinian Hamas.
'We were sent a video in which I could clearly see our daughter unconscious in the car with the Palestinians and them driving around the Gaza Strip.
'I ask you to send us any help or any news. Thank you very much.'
Hamas had claimed the body was a female Israeli soldier - but it was confirmed to be Shani by her cousin Tomasina Weintraub-Louk, who told MailOnline that the family recognised her distinctive leg tattoos and dreadlocked hair.
She said: 'We have heard nothing. We are hoping for positive news. It is definitely Shani.
'She was at a music festival for peace. This is a nightmare for our family.'
Tomasina said she and other family members had been desperately trying to contact Shani as well as her Mexican boyfriend, but they couldn't get through.
'We knew she was in the party, she didn't answer,' Tomasina said.
Her parents said they had not heard from their daughter since a phone call early on October 7, just after Hamas launched their first rockets.
But her family said they had since received information from her bank that Shani's credit card had been used in Gaza.
The music festival attended by Shani was one of the first sites to be attacked by the terrorist group.
Survivors described how the gunmen went 'tree by tree' executing victims.
Clips posted to social media show how revellers were forced to hide under bushes and record hushed farewell messages to their loved ones as they watched victims get killed one by one.
Many lay still in sheer terror for more than five hours before they heard the sound of armed rescuers speaking in Hebrew.
The Palestinian terrorist group stormed the Nova festival that had been taking place near Kibbutz Re'im, close to the Gaza Strip, as part of its surprise assault launched on October 7.
On October 11, harrowing dashcam footage from the incident showed gunmen executing civilians as they lay in the sand before rifling through their pockets and emptying bags from their cars.
In a second video widely shared on social media, a woman screaming 'Don't kill me!' can be seen being driven off on a motorbike by a gunman.
She has since been identified as Noa Argamani, 25, a student who was seized at the same outdoor peace festival she had attended with her boyfriend close to the border.
Esther Borochov, who fled the rave party, said she survived by playing dead in a car after the driver trying to help her escape was shot point blank.
Bodies of Israeli civilians were strewn across the streets of Sderot in southern Israel, near Gaza, surrounded by broken glass. The bodies of a woman and a man were sprawled across the front seats of a car.
'I went out, I saw loads of bodies of terrorists, civilians, cars shot up. A sea of bodies, inside Sderot along the road, other places, loads of bodies,' said Shlomi from Sderot.
Terrified Israelis, barricaded into safe rooms, recounted their plight by phone on live TV.
Other footage showed captured soldiers and civilians – some dead – being paraded through Gaza's streets.
Hamas has so far released four hostages following mediation by Qatar and Egypt. Two elderly Israeli women were set free on Monday, while an American-Israeli woman and her daughter were released on October 20.