7 weeks after Hamas massacre, Shani Gabay, previously presumed hostage, declared dead

Authorities identify body of 25-year-old who was working at Supernova party; brother says: ‘We’d hoped for a different ending, we believed until the last moment she was alive’

Shani Gabay (Courtesy)
Shani Gabay (Courtesy)

Over six weeks after the massacre at the Supernova rave near Gaza on October 7, authorities said Wednesday they had identified the body of Shani Gabay, a 25-year-old who had been missing since Hamas’s attack on Israel, and who had thus far been presumed a hostage.

Gabay, of Yokne’am, had been working at the party, and was last seen taking shelter at a police command post after being shot in the leg. It is not known why it took so long to identify her body.

She is now known to have been killed when Hamas terrorists raided the outdoor party near Re’im, slaughtering more than 360 people there and taking at least 40 hostages. The entire assault on southern Israel saw over 1,200 killed, a majority of them civilians, and over 240 taken hostage to Gaza, launching the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

“We had hoped for a different ending,” her brother Aviel told the Ynet news site. “We believed until the last moment that Shani was alive. We went through 47 nerve-racking days of stress, anxiety and worry, and today it all vanished.”

Gabay, a recent law school graduate, had called her mother at 6:40 a.m., telling her about the stream of rockets and asking what she should do, according to her brother.

She was in her car at the time, and her mother told her to pull over and find a secure place. She found a field shelter near Kibbutz Alumim and went there, not yet knowing at the time there were terrorists gunning down partygoers, in addition to the rockets.

Terrorists threw grenades into the shelter, according to Gabay’s two friends who stayed in the shelter and survived, each one losing a leg. Gabay was pulled out of the shelter and appeared to have returned to her car, where she was shot. She made her way to a paramedic who took her to the police command post. From video footage that her family pieced together, Gabay was last seen at the police post.

Shani Gabay killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 at the Supernova desert rave (Courtesy)

Terrorists later attacked the post, and she was not heard from since.

“She was told to run,” her brother Aviel had previously said, “but we don’t know how well she could have run by that point.”

Gabay’s family had jumped into action that morning, her brother driving to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba to see if she was there while her father headed to the party site. He spent that day and the next five days turning over bodies in ditches and on the side of the road, hoping to find a trace of his daughter.

Gabay would have turned 26 on November 29. She had recently earned her law degree and was known as a lover of life who was devoted to her dog, to parties like Supernova, and to travel.

“She knows everyone,” Aviel had said previously. “We keep meeting people at the rallies who see her photo and know her from Costa Rica, or the army or their studies. She cleans beaches and saves cats and dogs. I want to believe she’ll continue doing all of that.”

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