Mother Speaks Out About Missing Israel Festivalgoer


The mother of a woman taken from an Israeli music festival during the weekend attack by Hamas militants spoke to CNN on Monday about the incomprehensible ordeal.

“It looks very bad. But I still have hope. I hope that they don’t take bodies for negotiations. I hope that she’s still alive somewhere,” Ricarda Louk told Anderson Cooper in an interview.

She said she continues to search for more videos and news that may help them to find her.

Shani Louk, a German-Israeli tattoo artist, was among thousands of attendees partying at the Supernova festival early Saturday morning when Hamas militants stormed the event several miles from the Gaza border.

After she stopped responding to messages, her family members said they saw videos on social media that appeared to show her motionless body on the back of a pickup truck full of chanting militants.

CNN reported it had authenticated the video and confirmed Louk’s identity. She was also identified by German officials, according to the Wall Street Journal.

She was recognizable due to her distinctive tattoos and dreadlocks, her cousin, Tom Weintraub Louk, told The Washington Post.

Ricarda Louk told CNN she last spoke with her daughter after rocket strikes from Gaza started early on Saturday morning.

“She was panicked a little bit and she said she’s going to take the car now and go to a safe location. And then we stopped talking and since then I didn’t hear anything from her anymore,” she said.

Ricarda Louk said someone had later attempted to use her daughter’s credit card multiple times in the Gaza strip.

“Shani was such a loving and peace-loving person,” she told CNN. “She was at a music festival. She likes to travel. She’s an artist. She traveled a lot in the world.”

Ricarda Louk said that living in Israel, she had grown accustomed to rocket strikes, but nothing could have prepared her for this weekend’s events.

“I don’t understand really how such a brutal thing can just happen in the middle of the day and it was a complete surprise,” she said.

She had not yet received any news from Israeli officials, she said.

At least 260 bodies have been recovered from the festival site, with many more people missing, Israeli authorities said Sunday. Videos showed festivalgoers fleeing through the desert, hiding and playing dead, and being taken away by militants.

The event was supposed to be a celebration of “unity and love,” according to its website.

More than 1,100 people have been reported dead — around 700 in Israel and nearly 500 in Gaza — including many civilians, since Hamas launched the surprise incursion.

Israel formally declared war on Hamas Sunday and continues its retaliatory strikes. Israeli authorities report that dozens of hostages have been taken to Gaza; Hamas said the figure is upwards of 100.

Watch Ricarda Louk’s interview on CNN below. (Warning: The video contains disturbing images.)


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