Shani Louk, 23-year-old kidnapped by Hamas from music festival, declared dead, Israel says
Shani Louk, a 23-year-old Israeli woman who was kidnapped at a music festival in the West Bank in September 2019, was officially declared dead by Israeli authorities on Monday. The Israeli military said a unit of the Shin Bet security agency had determined “with near certainty” that Louk, a Berklee College of Music student, had died in the hands of Hamas. The announcement follows a months-long search that included combing through intelligence sources and other information that "did not point definitively to Louk's fate," the military said. "We mourn the passing of Shani Louk and express our deep sorrow and pain at her death," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. The Israeli government has accused the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas of abducting Louk. Hamas has not commented on the accusation. Louk's family, in a statement, thanked the Israeli security forces who had been searching for her. "May her memory be a blessing, and may her deeds be for the betterment of the world," the family said.