update deskIsrael at War

German-Israeli woman thought held by Hamas is dead

"Her skull has been found. This means that these barbaric, sadistic animals simply chopped off her head," Israeli President Isaac Herzog said.

Shani Louk. Source: X.
Shani Louk. Source: X.

A German-Israeli woman who was believed to have been abducted to the Gaza Strip during Hamas’s murderous attack on the western Negev has been declared dead, her family said on Monday.

Shani Louk, 22, was kidnapped during the Islamic terrorists’ Oct. 7 assault on a music festival near Kibbutz Re’im and displayed, half-naked, on the back of a truck.

“Unfortunately we received the news yesterday that my daughter is no longer alive,” Ricarda Louk told the German outlet RTL.

Louk first raised the alarm about her daughter after she recognized her in videos circulating online, due to her striking tattoos and dyed hair.

The videos showed a half-naked woman seemingly unconscious face-down in the back of a pickup truck in Gaza filled with armed men. Though Louk has been declared dead, her body has not been returned from Gaza.

Members of Louk’s family said they received a letter from the Israeli ZAKA rescue and victim identification service saying that a bone from the base of her skull had been recovered and identified.

“I am really sorry to report that we have now received news that Shani Nicole Louk has been confirmed murdered and dead. Her skull has been found,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog told Germany’s Bild newspaper.

“This means that these barbaric, sadistic animals simply chopped off her head as they attacked, tortured and killed Israelis. It is a great tragedy, and I extend my deepest condolences to her family,” added the president.

Ricarda Louk previously recounted the horror of seeing her daughter being taken away.

“We’re always in touch. Even when she’s far away, she always [reports] where she is. Shani is an amazing daughter; she’s an artist, she loves life.

“We invited her and her Mexican boyfriend to dinner. It was a holiday [Simchat Torah]. She said: ‘It’s a little tight for us, since we’re going to a party afterwards, so we said, ‘OK, never mind. Next week then,” the mother said.

“Then, in the morning the rocket strike started, so I called her straight away: ‘Shani, where are you? Do you have a bomb shelter,’ since she doesn’t have one in Tel Aviv? Then she said: ‘We’re still at the party in the south. We’re now leaving with the car and looking for a safe place.’ That was the last time we heard from her.

“Someone who was near to her said once the chaos began, they ran straight for their cars. Shani was in the first car. She drove and they started to go to the main road to get away. The second car was slightly behind,” Ricarda Louk said.

“Then they reached the road and were stopped and threatened by Hamas. They managed to call him in the second car and say, ‘Don’t come here. Flee!’ They left the car and ran by foot and survived. The last thing he heard was Shani screaming, and shooting, and then the call was disconnected.

“My eldest son got it first. He said: ‘It’s her, it’s Shani!’ We saw them with Hamas on the truck with the rifles, and we saw the other video where they’re driving around in Gaza. There’s no doubt about it: She’s there. We all started crying and screaming, and said: ‘She’s been abducted! She’s not missing. We know where she is. She’s abducted.'”

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