A woman whose seemingly lifeless body was paraded half naked in the back of a pickup truck on Saturday surrounded by Hamas terrorists has been identified by her family as German citizen Shani Louk.
Following the invasion of Israel on Saturday morning, during which thousands of rockets rained down on the Jewish state from the Gaza Strip and Hamas terrorist fighters stormed through the borders in a surprise attack, a flurry of videos began circulating appearing to show Palestinian militants kidnapping women from Israel.
One such video showed a woman stripped nearly naked in the back of a pickup truck lying in a lifeless fashion with her limbs contorted in an unnatural fashion. Her body lay at the feet of several men in combat clothing who shouted “Allah hu Akbar” while spitting on her back. The video sparked international outrage as it went viral.
The woman has now been identified by her family who recognised her distinctive tattoos and dreadlock hairstyle. Speaking to the Washington Post, Tom Weintraub Louk said that her first cousin, Shani Louk, went missing early Saturday morning after Hamas stormed an outdoor dance party near Kibbutz Urim.
The family was unable to reach Shani or her Mexican boyfriend. However, as videos began to emerge online, a cousin recognised Shani and her parents later confirmed that it was their daughter in the back of the pickup.
“We recognized her by the tattoos, and she has long dreadlocks,” she said. “We have some kind of hope… Hamas is responsible for her and the others.”
At the time of this reporting, it is unclear if Shani is alive or not.
In a post on social media, her mother, Ricarda Louk said in comments translated by Germany’s Bild newspaper: “We were sent a video where I could clearly recognise our daughter. Unconscious, in the car with the Palestinians as they drove into the Gaza Strip… I ask for any help, any news.”
Shani’s uncle, Winfried Gehr told the paper that his niece and her boyfriend had organised a dance festival in a kibbutz on Saturday, adding: “They regularly organised festivals and travelled all over the world with them.”
Shani is apparently not the only German to have fallen victim to Hamas kidnappers, with a mother and two small children aged three and five years old reportedly being kidnapped while visiting their grandmother in a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip.
This Israeli mother and her 2 daughters were kidnapped by Hamas today and are now held hostage in Gaza pic.twitter.com/wmPklsLouo
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 7, 2023
Israeli citizen Yoni Asher told the Bild newspaper in Germany that he recognised his wife, German citizen Doron Katz-Asher, their two young daughters, and his mother-in-law being kidnapped by Hamas militants in a video posted on Saturday.
“I immediately recognised that it was her, without a doubt. I saw a terrorist covering her head. There was a cover on my little daughters’ heads, and I immediately recognised my oldest daughter too. They were kidnapped along with my mother-in-law and her partner,” he said.
On Saturday evening, the Israel Defense Forces said the number of civilians captured by Hamas is “unfortunately, a significant number.”
It is currently unclear how many hostages were taken by Hamas terrorists, however, on Saturday evening Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus of the Israel Defence Forces told CNN that “it is unprecedented in our history that we have so many Israeli nationals in the hands of a terrorist organization.”
“These are numbers that we have never, ever seen before and these are, they’re unprecedented, and they will force an unprecedented response from Israel,” Conricus added.
The Palestinian terror attack happened on the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, the final day of the annual High Holy Day cycle.