Shani Louk, 22, a German-Israeli woman who was seen being taken to the Gaza Strip during Hamas’s October 7 onslaught, has been confirmed dead, her family said Monday.
“Unfortunately we received the news yesterday that my daughter is no longer alive,” Louk’s mother Ricarda told the German outlet RTL.
Louk had been at a rave party near the Gaza border where terrorists mowed down attendees with gunfire and grenades, killing some 260 people during their October 7 onslaught.
Her family was informed of her death overnight.
Ricarda Louk first raised the alarm about her daughter after she recognized her in videos circulating online, due to her striking tattoos and dyed hair.
The videos, which quickly spread around the world, showed a half-naked woman lying seemingly unconscious face-down in the back of a pickup truck in Gaza filled with armed men.
It seemed likely at the time that Louk was no longer alive, but the family held out hope.
Members of Louk’s family 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, genetically tested and determined to have belonged to Shani.
Though Louk has been declared dead, her body remains in Gaza. Earlier this month, German media reported unconfirmed information that Louk was in a hospital in the enclave with critical injuries. That appears to have been false.
Nissim, Louk’s father, told Channel 13 that he was glad to receive the news because the alternative would have been worse.
“I’m happy. First, that this thing is over, that we know exactly what happened,” he said. “Because I know where she is, she isn’t lying in some tunnel under Gaza, where every minute we are firing at them and all the earth is shaking and there is dust and it’s impossible to breathe.
“We know she is dead, we know she didn’t suffer, we also know a minute before the murderers came she was dancing, she was happy, she prayed, she went wild, with all her friends around her, and she had fun,” he added.
Ricarda, her mother, also expressed relief after receiving the news.
“On the one hand, [I feel] sadness, because there is no chance they will return her; on the other hand, we have clarity at least on what happened to her, and it gives us a kind of closure,” she told Kan news.
She added that the family was sitting shiva — the traditional week-long Jewish mourning period — but it was impossible to have a funeral at this stage because they only had some of Louk’s body parts.
“The news of Shani Louk’s death is terrible,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote on the social media platform X. “Like many others, she was brutally murdered. This shows the full barbarity behind the Hamas attack — who must be held accountable.”
“This is terror, and Israel has the right to defend itself,” Scholz added.
The Hamas terror group launched a massive assault on southern Israel on October 7. Some 2,500 terrorists slaughtered over 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, and abducted at least 239 people to the Strip.
Israel has responded with intensive strikes on Gaza and a gradually expanding ground operation, declaring its intention to eradicate the terror group that rules the Strip.
Days after the October 7 massacre, German federal prosecutors announced a probe into Hamas on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering German citizens.