20231030 shani
A picture of Shani Nicole Louk is displayed during a demonstration by family members and supporters of hostages who are being held in Gaza after they were kidnapped from Israel by Hamas gunmen. Image Credit: Reuters

Jerusalem: Shani Louk, a 23-year-old German-Israeli woman abducted by Hamas fighters when they stormed a music festival in the Israeli desert, is dead, Israel's foreign ministry said Monday.

"Our hearts are broken," the ministry wrote in a message on X, formerly Twitter, as it confirmed Louk's death.

"Shani, who was kidnapped from a music festival and tortured and paraded around Gaza by Hamas terrorists, experienced unfathomable horrors," it said.

"May her memory be a blessing."

Louk had been missing since Hamas fighters stormed the Supernova rave near the Gaza border as they carried out the worst attack in Israel's history.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz described the news of her death as "terrible".

"Like many others, she was brutally murdered," he wrote on X.

"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," he said.

Around 270 festivalgoers were killed at the Supernova rave.

Shortly after the attack, images began circulating online of a young woman lying face down and nearly naked in the back of a pick-up truck in Gaza filled with armed men.

Louk's family said they recognised Shani in the footage because of her dreadlocks and distinctive tattoos.

The family initially held out hope she had been badly injured and was receiving hospital treatment in Gaza.

Louk's sister Adi spoke of her "great sorrow" as she shared the news of Shani's death on Instagram.

Their mother, Ricarda Louk, told German media they had been informed of Shani's death by the Israeli military.

German-born Ricarda, who moved to Israel three decades ago, told the RTL/NTV broadcasters her daughter had been identified through DNA analysis of a skull bone.

She said she now believed her daughter was killed on the day of the attack.

No official information was given about the circumstances of Shani's death.

But Israeli President Isaac Herzog told Germany's Bild daily that her "skull has been found".

In the October 7 attacks, Hamas militants killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities. Another 239 people were taken hostage.

In retaliation, Israel began a relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Since then, the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says more than 8,300 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians and among them almost 3,500 children.