German tattoo artist Shani Loukwaidmann, 30, was killed by Hamas while attending a music festival before the militants paraded her body on the back of a truck and claimed she was an Israeli soldier. A woman whose lifeless and semi-naked body was paraded in the back of a Hamas pick-up truck as militants sat on top of her and jeered following their violent incursion was last night identified as a German tattoo artist.
German tattoo artist Shani Loukwaidmann, 30, was killed by Hamas while attending a music festival before the militants paraded her body on the back of a truck and claimed she was an Israeli soldier
Shani Louk, 30, was at a music festival for peace when she was seized by terrorists as they attacked Israel in a surprise assault which has left at least 480 people dead and 3,200 injured.
Her body was filmed splayed in the back of a truck, with one leg at an unnatural angle, terrorists sitting around it and supporters of the group cheering, running alongside and spitting on her.
Hamas had claimed the body was a female Israeli soldier – but it was last night confirmed to be Shani by her cousin Tomasina Weintraub-Louk, who told MailOnline that the family recognized her distinctive leg tattoos and dreadlocked hair.
She said: ‘We have heard nothing. We are hoping for positive news. It is definitely Shani. She was at a music festival for peace. This is a nightmare for our family.’
The tragedy comes as Palestinian militants launched its worst onslaught for 50 years on Saturday by unprecedented land, sea and air attacks – even using hang gliders to avoid detection.
In a coordinated, multi-pronged assault, Palestinian terrorists crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip, seizing settlements and capturing and murdering civilians celebrating a Jewish holiday.
Dozens of people are feared to have been snatched off the street and returned to Gaza, or simply killed on the spot.
The music festival attended by Shani was one of the first sites to be attacked by the terrorist group, with reports suggesting dozens were killed on sight with more taken hostage by the militants.
In a second video widely shared on social media, a woman screaming ‘Don’t kill me!’ can be seen being driven off on a motorbike by a gunman.
The Mail on Sunday has learned she is Noa Argamani, 25, a student who was seized at the same outdoor peace festival she had attended with her boyfriend close to the border.
Esther Borochov, who fled the rave party, said she survived by playing dead in a car after the driver trying to help her escape was shot point blank.
Bodies of Israeli civilians were strewn across the streets of Sderot in southern Israel, near Gaza, surrounded by broken glass. The bodies of a woman and a man were sprawled across the front seats of a car.
‘I went out, I saw loads of bodies of terrorists, civilians, cars shot up. A sea of bodies, inside Sderot along the road, other places, loads of bodies,’ said Shlomi from Sderot.
Terrified Israelis, barricaded into safe rooms, recounted their plight by phone on live TV.
Other footage showed captured soldiers and civilians – some dead – being paraded through Gaza’s streets.
Heralding the start of what Hamas called ‘the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth’, Gaza’s ruling group had earlier poured into Israel in a convoy of trucks, cars and motorcycles after an advance party bulldozed the heavily fortified border, previously considered impregnable.
Israel vowed revenge and responded with a series of missile attacks that left 230 dead and 1,610 injured in Gaza. Earlier, Hamas was accused of cold-blooded executions, with footage of apparent victims flooding social media.
In one chilling video, a young Israeli woman, reported as being a soldier on social media, was seen lying in the back of an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) armoured vehicle commandeered by the terrorists. Then she was dragged by her hair out of the boot. Her clothes were drenched in blood.
As she was bundled into the back seat, cheering terrorists armed with Kalashnikov rifles shouted ‘Allahu akbar’. The fate of the unidentified woman was not known last night.
For Israelis working and living within range of Gaza, Hamas militants roaming outside their homes marked a terrifying turn of events.
Jehan Berman, 42, from Avshalom, located just a few kilometres from the border, said: ‘This was always the nightmare. We told ourselves that one day, the terrorists will come inside here.’
He added that it took eight hours for the Israeli military to arrive to his kibbutz and start fending off the Hamas fighters. ‘We cannot live like this.’
Mr Berman said that Israeli authorities had notified him that Hamas had kidnapped his 75-year-old mother-in-law, along with several friends in their 30s and their small children.
The last time he heard from his mother-in-law was at 10.30am when she called him, panicked and distraught, to say that Hamas militants had shot and killed her husband.
World leaders have appealed for restraint in the conflict, which threatens to severely destabilise the region, with US President Joe Biden warning Israel’s enemies not to take advantage of the situation.
Calling the attacks ‘unconscionable’, Mr Biden said last night: ‘Today the people of Israel came under an attack orchestrated by a terrorist organisation, Hamas.
‘In this moment of tragedy I want to say to them, and to the world, and to terrorists everywhere, the United States stands with Israel. We will not ever fail to have her back.’
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘I am shocked by this morning’s attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli citizens.
‘Israel has an absolute right to defend itself. We’re in contact with Israeli authorities, and British nationals in Israel should follow travel advice.’
He later added: ‘As the barbarity of today’s atrocities becomes clearer, we stand unequivocally with Israel.
‘This attack by Hamas is cowardly and depraved. We have expressed our full solidarity to [the Israeli Prime Minister] and will work with international partners in the next 24 hours to co-ordinate support.’
Sources in the Israeli government admitted that some of their soldiers were captured as hostages but said their identities could not be confirmed until their families were informed.
Grim videos showed one male Israeli soldier taken to Gaza and paraded through the streets while passers-by assaulted him. There were also reports that a senior commander of the IDF was taken hostage but the Israeli government has not confirmed it.
Speaking on Saturday night, PM Netanyahu issued a dire warning to Hamas militants: ‘I tell Hamas, you are responsible for the wellbeing of captives, Israel will settle the score with anyone who harms them.’
Promising ‘mighty vengeance’, he promised to reduce Gaza to ‘rubble’, telling innocent Palestinians to leave immediately.
Soon after, a convey of tanks were reported to be heading towards the border with Gaza.
Speaking late on Saturday, a spokesperson for the Israeli military said the situation in the south of the country was ‘still not fully under control’.
Mohammed Deif, the leader of Hamas’s military wing, said the assault was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, Israeli raids inside West Bank cities over the past year, violence at Al-Aqsa, the disputed Jerusalem holy site sacred to Jews as the Temple Mount, increasing attacks by settlers on Palestinians and the growth of settlements.
‘Enough is enough,’ Deif, who does not appear in public, said in the recorded message.
He claimed the attack was only the start of what he called ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Storm’ and called on Palestinians from east Jerusalem to northern Israel to join the fight.
In response, Israel launched Operation Iron Swords. Among the bombing targets was the house of Hamas Gaza chief Yehya Al-Sinwar in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Mr Netanyahu warned that ‘the enemy will pay a price he has never known’.
Israel has the most well-funded intelligence service in the Middle East, with informants and agents inside Palestinian terror groups, yet failed to anticipate the attacks.
It has a fence along the Gaza border which is meant to prevent infiltrations – but in a further humiliation, Hamas were pictured smashing through it using an excavator. They were also seen celebrating on top of Israeli tanks after their surprise attack on unprepared forces.
The fence goes deep underground and is equipped with cameras, sensors and sensitive listening technology. Some experts have even suggested Hamas and other Palestinian groups could not have acted alone and suggested backing from powers such as Iran.
But the US confirmed on Saturday it had no evidence linking Iran to any of the attacks on Israel.
Mr Netanyahu meanwhile also told Israel that it is ‘at war’ with Hamas and has ordered a call-up of reservists.
The Israeli Prime Minister also ordered the military to clear the infiltrated towns of Hamas terrorists who remained locked in gunfights with Israeli soldiers.
Comparisons to the Yom Kippur War, one of the most traumatic moments in Israeli history, sharpened criticism of Mr Netanyahu and his far-Right allies, who had campaigned on more aggressive action against threats from Gaza.
Political commentators lambasted the Government over its failure to foresee what appeared to be a Hamas attack unseen in its level of planning and co-ordination.
Last night, millions of Israelis were hunkering down in safe rooms, sheltering from rocket explosions and ongoing gun-battles with Hamas terrorists.
In the kibbutz of Nahal Oz, just two miles from the Gaza Strip, terrified residents huddled indoors and said they could hear constant gunfire echoing off buildings as firefights continued hours after the initial attack.
Mirjam Reijnen, a 42-year-old mother of three, who lives in Nahal Oz, said: ‘With rockets we somehow feel safer, knowing that we have the Iron Dome and our safe rooms. But knowing that terrorists are walking around communities is a different kind of fear.’
Israel has blockaded Gaza since Islamist group Hamas gained control of the territory in 2007 and the two have fought wars ever since.
In Gaza, the roar of rocket launches could be heard last night and residents reported armed clashes along the separation fence with Israel.
‘We are afraid,’ Amal Abu Daqqa, said as she left her house in Khan Younis. Others expressed disbelief at the infiltration into Israel. ‘It is like a dream. I still can’t believe it,’ said one Gaza shopkeeper.
Innocent victims snatched by Hamas: Student, 25, screams ‘don’t kill me!’ as she is kidnapped from a rave by militants who also nab mother, 34, and her two young girls in terrifying series of raids into Israel – leaving Middle East on brink of all-out war
A student who attended a desert rave and a mother and her two young girls were among the innocent victims snatched by Hamas terrorists last night.
Noa Argamani, 25, was kidnapped yesterday as a video showed her sitting on the back of a militant’s motorcycle, with her outstretched arms pointing towards her helpless boyfriend, pleading for her life.
She screams ‘Don’t kill me! No, no, no’ – but the gunman speeds off. Noa hasn’t been seen since.
Her boyfriend, Avi Nathan, distraught and helpless, is left behind in the desert. He too is missing.
Widely shared on social media, the footage of Noa’s kidnapping is almost too distressing to bear. ‘Imagine what it is like for her family,’ said her university roommate, Amir Moadi. They found out she had been snatched only when they chanced upon the footage online.
Last night it was also reported that Doron Asher, 34, and her two daughters, Raz, five, and Aviv, three, were among Israeli civilians taken hostage by Hamas gunmen and held captive in Gaza.
A sudden invasion by the Hamas group has already left at least 482 people dead and another 3,200 injured – in less than one day. Dozens more are said to have been kidnapped and driven across the border into the Gaza Strip.