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Parents of German-Israeli woman whose body found in Gaza thankful to have a grave
Parents of German-Israeli woman whose body found in Gaza thankful to have a grave
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Parents of German-Israeli woman whose body found in Gaza thankful to have a grave
by DZRH News19 May 2024
Ricarda Louk and Nissim Louk, May 18, 2024. REUTERS/Rami Amichay

By Rami Amichay and Michal Yaakov Itzhaki

SRIGIM, Israel (Reuters) - German-Israeli Shani Louk's father says that finally laying his daughter to rest will be a gift after her body was recovered from Gaza, months after she was killed in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel.

Louk, a 23-year-old tattoo artist, was celebrating with friends at the Nova music festival just inside Israel before it was attacked by gunmen from the Palestinian militant group. Her body was soon seen in a video, slung across the back of a pickup truck, surrounded by gunmen and paraded through Gaza.

On Friday, the Israeli military informed her parents, Nissim and Ricarda Louk, that their daughter's body had been found by Israeli commandos in Gaza. Nissim Louk said that to be sure, he had viewed photos.

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"We also saw the tattoos on her hands," he said on Saturday. "Now she will have her own place next to us and we can go there whenever we want. And she can rest."

He said the funeral will be held on Sunday, which is Ricarda Louk's birthday.

"I think Shani said 'let's give my mother a birthday present and let's go back and be close to her'," he added.

Having Shani's grave nearby would be a comfort, said Ricarda Louk.

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"Maybe we'll find more peace," she said.

Nissim Louk said there was also solace knowing Shani was doing what she loved best before she died and probably did not suffer. She was pronounced dead by Israeli authorities at the end of October, based on findings in the area of the Nova rave, where more than 360 people were shot, bludgeoned or burned to death.

Videos of a smiling Shani at the party, before the attack, surfaced in the following weeks.

"She was dancing the whole night. She was so happy," Nissim Louk said. "She never thought that there is evil in the world because she was a free spirit. She saw it only for a couple of seconds."

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Around 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 abducted in the Hamas-led attack, according to Israeli tallies. Israel responded by launching a military offensive to try to eradicate Hamas that is now in its eight month.

More than 35,000 people have since been killed in Gaza, the Palestinian health ministry says. Most of the coastal enclave's population has been displaced and much of it has been laid to waste in the offensive, which has drawn fierce criticism abroad.

Ricarda Louk said she was pained by what she sees as ignorance and misinformation displayed at some U.S. campus protests against Israel's war in Gaza.

"It's horrible for us to see," she said. "We can tell you from our own experience. We lost our daughter in this massacre."

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"There is no resistance that can justify what happened here," she said.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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