Young Israeli-German woman was initially believed to have been kidnapped alive in attack on Supernova music festival
Shani Louk. Her mother had said she last spoke to her daughter at the festival as gunfire rang out. Photograph: Instagram | The Guardian
A young Israeli-German woman whose fate became indelibly associated around the globe with the Hamas massacre and mass kidnapping rampage of 7 October was killed during the attack, her family has said.
Shani Louk, aged 22, was initially believed to have been kidnapped alive during Hamas’s assault on a music festival in Re’im, after she was paraded semi-naked through Gaza, apparently unconscious on the back of a pickup truck.
On Monday, however, Louk’s sister Adi confirmed that Shani had died, probably during the attack, after the discovery of human remains that suggested injuries that would not have been survivable.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of my sister, Shani Nicole Z.L. , who was on October 7, 2023, at the party massacre in Re’im,” Adi wrote on Instagram.
In a post on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, the Israeli foreign ministry said Louk had experienced “unfathomable horrors”.
Louk was seen in footage shared on the day of the attack lying motionless in the back of a vehicle after being seized and brought into Gaza.
Initially, Louk’s mother Ricarda said she believed her daughter was alive and being held in a hospital in Gaza, but informed German television on Sunday that her daughter was no longer alive.
According to reports in the German and Israeli media, a cousin of Louk’s said that the family received an official notice from the Israel Defence Forces and the voluntary emergency response organisation Zaka that a bone from the base of Louk’s skull had been found and matched with Louk’s DNA.
Doctors determined that a person cannot live without the found bone and concluded that Louk could not possibly still be alive. The determination of death was conducted by the Israeli National Institute of Forensic Medicine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday said that the death of Louk showed what he called the barbarism of Hamas and the need to hold the Palestinian militant group to account.
“For me, this news is terrible,” Scholz said during an official visit to Africa. “This shows all the barbarism that lies behind Hamas.”
Louk was at the Supernova music festival near Re’im on 7 October when Hamas terrorists launched their assault.
Video of Louk, a tattoo artist, taken before the massacre showed her dancing with friends at the festival.
Her mother had earlier told Germany’s Bild that she had last spoken to her daughter at the festival as gunfire rang out, losing contact when her daughter took cover in bushes.
Hours later video emerged of the body of a woman, in the back of a white pickup truck with several gunmen being taken to Gaza, who her family quickly recognised.
Two weeks ago, Germany’s Der Spiegel reported that the German partner of Louk’s aunt had been told she was alive and being treated for injuries at a hospital in Gaza’s Beit Lahia.
At least 260 people were killed among the festival tents and in the fields and roads surrounding it on the morning of 7 October, part of the deadliest attack on Israel in decades. It took hours for security forces to reach festivalgoers who were hiding or trying to flee.