The family of a German-Israeli woman believed to have been abducted by Hamas from the Nova music festival have been told that her remains have been found by the IDF.
Shani Louk's mother, Ricarda Louk, told German Television channel RTL that: “Unfortunately we received the news yesterday that my daughter is no longer alive,”
According to Hebrew media, the Israeli search and rescue service Zaka told Louk's family that a bone from the base of her skull had been retrieved, and identified as belonging to Shani.
Israeli president Isaac Herzog later told German media that Louk is believed to have been decapitated.
In an interview with the Bild newspaper, he said: “I am truly sorry to report that we have now received news that Shani Nicole Louk has been confirmed murdered and dead.
“This means that these barbaric, sadistic animals chopped off her head as they attacked, tortured and killed Israelis. It is a great tragedy and I extend my deepest condolences to her family.”
“What we saw on the Gaza-Israel border goes far beyond a pogrom. We saw a slaughterhouse,”
“We saw the blood flowing on the streets. We have seen the most horrific tragedies imaginable.”
Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz also issued a statement, reaffirming "Israel's right to defend itself" saying that Louk's murder "shows the full barbarity behind the Hamas attack" adding that they must be "held accountable."
Earlier this month, Ricarda Louk recognised her daughter from a graphic video on social media showing a half-naked woman unconscious in the back of a Hamas truck being spat on by terrorists.
She first appealed to Hamas to release her daughter, a tattoo artist, with a video published by German newspaper Bild.
Louk said: “This morning my daughter, Shani Nicole Louk, a German citizen, was kidnapped with a group of tourists in southern Israel by Palestinian Hamas.
“We were sent a video in which I could clearly see our daughter unconscious in the car with the Palestinians and them driving around the Gaza Strip. I ask you to send us any help or any news. Thank you very much.”
Louk later appealed to the German authorities saying: "We now have evidence that Shani is alive but has a serious head injury and is in critical condition. Every minute is critical.
"You have to act quickly and get Shani out of the Gaza Strip!"