A young German-Israeli woman who was spat on and paraded half-naked through the streets of the Gaza Strip after being abducted by Hamas terrorists is alive, her mother said on Tuesday.
Shani Louk, 22, a tattoo artist, was captured by gunmen after they attacked a music festival in the Negev Desert, close to the border with Gaza.
In video footage that emerged subsequently, she was seen lying seemingly unconscious, face down in the back of a pick-up truck in Gaza that was full of jeering Hamas militants.
In one of the many distressing videos to emerge from the surprise attack on the desert rave, in which at least 260 people were slaughtered by Hamas gunmen, a man pulled her hair while another, outside the truck, spat on her head.
Her mother, Ricarda Louk, told German television that she had received fresh information that her daughter was alive but that she has “a severe head injury and is in critical condition” in a hospital in Gaza.
“We now have more information that Shani is alive,” she said, adding that the information had come from Palestinian sources. “Every minute is critical.”
Addressing the German authorities, she said: “You have to act quickly and get Shani out of the Gaza Strip.”
She appealed to the German government not to “argue about questions of jurisdiction”.
Ms Louk’s credit card was reportedly used at a shop in the Gaza Strip on Sunday.
Prosecutors in Germany announced on Tuesday that they were launching an investigation into Hamas on suspicion of kidnap and murder of German citizens following the bloody assaults launched by the terrorist group at the weekend.
Prosecutors “have opened an investigation against unidentified members of the radical Palestinian Islamist organisation Hamas”, said a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor’s office.
Several Germans with Israeli nationality were among those kidnapped by Hamas militants.
Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor, said Berlin was working “intensively” with Israeli authorities to try to find out the fate of German citizens among the hostages, “how many people it is and what we can do to secure their freedom”.