The 23-year-old German-Israeli woman who was kidnapped by Hamas militants from the Nova music festival on October 7 has been formally declared dead, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We are heartbroken to announce that 23-year-old German-Israeli Shani (Louk)’s body has been located and identified,” the ministry wrote on Monday on X, the previous Twitter platform.
According to a person engaged in her identification, Louk’s death was declared when forensic experts discovered a piece of her skull.
The broken bone came from the temporal bone’s petrous region, which is located at the base of the skull and is often close to the carotid artery, a significant blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain. A DNA test confirmed Louk’s ownership of the piece.
On October 7, Louk was attending a carnival in southern Israel when Hamas crossed into Gaza.
The foreign ministry released a statement claiming that Louk “saw unspeakable horrors” after being kidnapped by Hamas militants during the event, when she was tortured and paraded around Gaza.
Investigators concluded these were Louk’s remains after examining the bone fragment, the events leading up to the October 7 attack, and the footage that seemed to show Louk asleep on the back of a Hamas truck.
During their October 7 attack, militants shut off the festival’s road from both the north and the south, and footage from the scene showed that they then swarmed the vast area on foot.
The throng were then forced to retreat over fields to the east as they were surrounded by gunmen on three sides.
Shani’s mother, Ricarda Louk, told CNN earlier this month that she last called to her daughter to check on her safety after hearing rockets and alarms go off in southern Israel. Shani informed her mother that there wasn’t much room for hiding while at the festival.
According to Israeli rescue agency Zaka, more than 260 bodies were discovered at the Nova festival site alone. However, CNN’s investigation suggests that the actual death toll may be much higher.
Following the attack on the music event, the body of Louk, a dual Israeli-German citizen, was seen on camera appearing to be unconscious on the back of a Hamas truck.
You noticed in the video that it’s impossible to tell if she’s dead or alive. In the days following the rampage, Louk’s mother told CNN, “It was really scary, and we were very worried.”
A number of hostages were also returned to Gaza; according to Israeli military spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, there are currently 239 hostages believed to be held by Hamas in the enclave. On Monday, the Israel Defence Forces announced that a female Israeli soldier who was abducted by Hamas on October 7 had been freed during ground operations in Gaza. The soldier had undergone medical examinations, was in good health, and had met with her family.