ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 146

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12-year-old Harry Potter fan championed by J.K. Rowling found murdered by Hamas

Shared by Israel’s X account, story of autistic girl and her grandmother helped world see massacres; pair originally thought captured by terror group in vicious Oct. 7 incursion

12-year-old Noya Dan, seen here in a Harry Potter-inspired costume, was murdered by Hamas alongside her grandmother Carmela on October 7, 2023, in Kibbutz Nir Oz. (via X)
12-year-old Noya Dan, seen here in a Harry Potter-inspired costume, was murdered by Hamas alongside her grandmother Carmela on October 7, 2023, in Kibbutz Nir Oz. (via X)

The bodies of Noya Dan, a 12-year-old autistic Israeli girl, and her grandmother Carmela, 80 — who were initially believed to have been held hostage by Hamas in Gaza — have been found, the Kan public broadcaster reported on Thursday.

On Monday, while Noya’s fate was still unknown, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling retweeted a post highlighting the child’s uncertain situation that was initially posted by the State of Israel’s official X account.

Rowling wrote, “For obvious reasons, this picture has hit home with me,” the author says, adding that kidnapping children is “despicable and wholly unjustifiable,” and expressing hope for the release of all captives in Gaza.

In the past 12 days, Noya’s voice was broadcast on Israeli media when her mother, Galit, shared her daughter’s final voice memos.

“Mom, there was a big boom at the door that scared me,” Noya said in Hebrew. “All the windows in Grandma’s house were broken at the entrance. Because there was another boom, there are many broken windows. Mommy… I’m scared,” she said.

Mother Galit told the Kan public broadcaster this week that “just because she is autistic doesn’t mean she doesn’t understand. She understands everything.”

The family, residents of Kibbutz Kissufim close to the Gaza border, had a large extended family dinner together the night before the devastating Hamas incursion. Knowing how close her daughter and mother were, Galit suggested Noya sleep over at her grandmother’s house in neighboring Kibbutz Nir Oz as a special treat.

Younger sister Tamar, 8, remained at home with her mother and father, Yinnon. Hours later, Kibbutz Kissufim was attacked by Hamas terrorists and the family hid in their saferoom while gunmen used their living room as a temporary headquarters, shooting out through the windows of the family home at their neighbors.

The two families texted and sent photos to each other from their saferooms throughout the morning, Galit told Kan. Grandmother Carmela optimistically said she’d send photos of her looted home once everything was over.

All communication was lost at noon with Noya’s final voice message.

Author Rowling’s repost of a picture featuring Noya, smiling and wearing what appears to be a Hogwarts school uniform and holding a wand, touched many, especially fellow Harry Potter fans, according to The Daily Mail, and cemented the horror of the massacre perpetrated by Hamas that killed some 1,400 people in Israel.

Closing a circle, in a message on X, Israel announced Noya’s death on Thursday, writing, “We are devastated to announce that Noya and her grandmother Carmela’s bodies were discovered yesterday. Thank you to all of you who shared her story to help us bring her home. Our hearts are broken.”

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