'No father would want to hear this': Shani Louk's family speak out after Nova festival victim's body discovered in Gaza

18 May 2024, 01:20

Shani Louk (left), Itzhak Gelerenter and Amit Buskila.
Shani Louk (left), Itzhak Gelerenter and Amit Buskila. Picture: Social media/Bring Them Home Now/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Shani Louk's father has spoken out after her body was one of three discovered by the IDF in Gaza.

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The three hostages were named as Ms Louk, Itzhak Gelerenter and Amit Buskila.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the remains were discovered in an overnight operation carried out by the military and Shin Bet.

He said all three were killed by Hamas at the Nova music festival, an outdoor dance party near the Gaza border, and their bodies taken into the Palestinian territory.

Footage of 22-year-old Ms Louk being paraded about on the back of a truck were widely circulated on social media after she was kidnapped.

In a statement following the announcement, her father, Nissim Louk, said: "No father would want to hear this news.

"We knew that she was murdered. Today the army officers came to our house and told us the news.

"They showed us pictures of Shani who still looked great."

He added: "Her happy life was cut short. She was a special person."

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Shani Louk
Shani Louk. Picture: Social media

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deaths "heartbreaking", saying: "We will return all of our hostages, both the living and the dead."

The military did not give immediate details on where their bodies were found but local media have local media said they were found in a tunnel in Jabalia - north of the Gaza Strip.

Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

Mr Netanyahu has vowed to both eliminate Hamas and bring all the hostages back.

But he has also faced warnings from the US that it will scale back its support over the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Israel's campaign in Gaza since the attack has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials.

Itzhak Gelerenter
Itzhak Gelerenter. Picture: The Hostages and Missing Families Forum

In a statement, the IDF said: "Shani Louk, Amit Buskila and Yitzhak Gelernter were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7 from the Nova Music Festival.

"Overnight, our troops recovered their bodies and brought them back home to Israel.

"We will continue operating to bring all of our hostages home.

"May their memories be a blessing."

Amit Buskila
Amit Buskila. Picture: Social media

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents relatives of those who were kidnapped by Hamas, said in a statement: "The families of the 129 hostages and the Hostages Families Forum Headquarters bow their heads in deep sorrow and with broken hearts following the announcement of the murder of Amit Buskila, Itzik Gelerenter and Shani Louk.

"May their memories be a blessing, by Hamas terrorists.

"The IDF spokesperson announced today that the IDF recovered the bodies of the three hostages from Rafah: Amit Buskila (28) Itzik Gelerenter (57) Shani Louk (23).

"The three were kidnapped from the NOVA festival in Re'im and brutally killed by the terrorist murderers while they were dancing and celebrating life.

"The return of their bodies is a painful and stark reminder that we must swiftly bring back all our brothers and sisters from their cruel captivity - the living to rehabilitation, and the murdered to a proper burial."