Israel Palestine Conflict

Family confirms death of German-Israeli hostage taken by Hamas

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The family of a German-Israeli woman who was taken hostage by Hamas on October 7 has confirmed her death.

Shani Nicole Louk had been attending a music festival near the border of the Gaza Strip when members of the militant group infiltrated the border into Israel and seized around 230 people and killed 1,400 others, Israeli officials said. Her mother identified the 23-year-old woman in a video released by Hamas shortly after the attack that allegedly showed her lying face down in the back of a pickup truck.

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Al Arabiya could not independently verify the video.

In an interview on Israeli radio, the woman’s aunt, Ruthi Louk, said that Shani was most likely killed before she was taken into Gaza.

According to the aunt, a fragment of Louk’s skull was discovered and identified at the site of the rave by workers from ZAKA, a voluntary Israeli emergency response team.

A forensic team had identified the bone as being from the base of her skull and said that the 23-year-old would not have survived the injury, according to the aunt.

“It is assumed she was dragged onto that pickup truck after she was already dead,” her aunt said on Israeli radio.

“Maybe there can be comfort by the thought she died fast and the abuse to her body was perhaps done when she was already gone,” she said.

On Monday, the Israeli government also confirmed Louk’s death.

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

“What we saw on the Gaza-Israel border goes far beyond a pogrom. We saw a slaughterhouse.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose government has staunchly supported Israel as it mounted an offensive against Gaza in retaliation, said Hamas had to be held accountable.

“For me, this news is terrible,” Scholz said during an official visit to Nigeria. “This shows all the barbarism that lies behind Hamas.”

Hamas has not commented on Louk’s fate.

The circumstances of her death were not immediately clear.

The German government confirmed on Monday that a German national had died but did not offer specifics.

(With Reuters)

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