German-Israeli woman Shani Louk, taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza confirmed dead

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German-Israeli woman, Shani Louk, 23, who was taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza following the October 7 assault has been confirmed dead, her family said Monday, according to The Times of Israel. Louk attended a rave party close to the Gaza border when Hamas terrorists attacked and killed about 260 people. “Unfortunately we received the news yesterday that my daughter is no longer alive,” Louk’s mother Ricarda told the German outlet RTL. Louk’s family was informed of her death overnight.

Following the news of Louk’s death, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that it is terrorism and Israel has the right to defend itself. In a post on social media platform X, the German Chancellor wrote, “The news of Shani Lok’s death is terrible. She was brutally murdered like many others. This represents all the barbarity of the Hamas attack, which must be punished. “This is terrorism and Israel has the right to defend itself,” he added.

Notably, it was because of her distinctive tattoos and dyed hair, that her mother Ricarda Louk first became concerned about her daughter after seeing her in videos that were becoming viral on the internet. The videos, which went viral immediately, featured a face-down, half-naked woman lying seemingly unconscious in the back of a pickup truck in Gaza filled with armed men, according to The Times of Israel.

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Although it was apparent at the time that Louk had passed away, the family remained optimistic and held hope. According to The Times of Israel, the family of Shani Louk, received a letter from the Israeli ZAKA rescue service Sunday night saying that a bone from the base of her skull, without which a person cannot survive, had been recovered. They added that it had been genetically tested and determined to have belonged to her.

On October 7, Hamas initiated a major attack on the southern region of Israel. Since the assault, Hamas has kidnapped over 200 civilians from Israeli border towns and dragged them across the Gazan border. These include several foreigners and dual citizenship holders. In response, Israeli forces have stepped up their ground offensive in Gaza as part of the military response to the Hamas attacks that officials say killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, with another 239 people taken hostage.