Israel: Many foreigners dead, missing or taken hostage


Dozens of foreigners were killed, injured or taken hostage during Saturday’s surprise attack on Israel. Several missing foreigners attended a music festival near the Gaza/Israel border where at least 260 festival goers died on Saturday.

The victims include at least four Americans, two Ukrainians, 12 Thai citizens, 10 Nepalese citizens, one Cambodian citizen, a Canadian and a French citizen.

A French woman is dead and several others are missing.

Meyer Habib, an MP who represents French citizens overseas, said on Monday that “at least eight” French citizens were killed, captured or are still missing during the attack.

The hostages include a 26-year-old man from Bordeaux who attended Saturday’s Supernova music festival. According to Habib, France should “hold Hamas directly responsible for (the hostages’) safety and all means should be used to ensure their release”.

Jake Marlowe (26), who moved from Britain to Israel two years ago, was apparently taken hostage while working as a security guard at the music festival.

Several German-Israeli citizens were also kidnapped, a source from the German Department of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.

The mother of 22-year-old Shani Louk has on Der Spiegel said she recognized her daughter in videos circulating online of a half-naked woman lying face down in the back of a bakkie – surrounded by armed men – in Gaza.

Louk was also at the music festival.

Brazil’s Department of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday that three Brazilian-Israeli citizens were missing after attending the music festival. A fourth is being treated in a hospital.

The Irish government has also confirmed that an Irish-Israeli woman is missing. Local media have since identified her as 22-year-old Kim Damti who attended the music festival.

Damti ran to a car with a friend during her last phone call on Saturday morning, reported The Irish Times.

Israel turns off the taps

On Monday, Israeli authorities ordered the immediate suspension of the water supply to the Gaza Strip.

The order follows shortly after Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Minister of Defense, ordered a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip. The Gaza Strip receives about 10% of its annual water from Israel.

Israel’s army declared on Monday that its forces were in “control of communities” in its southern territory near Gaza.

“We are in charge of the communities,” military spokesman Daniel Hagari told journalists. He also warned that there may still be “terrorists” in the area.

“We took people from 15 of the 24 communities on the border to safety.”

Hagari says Israeli forces are expected to complete the evacuation “within the next 24 hours”.

The attack on Israel has already claimed at least 700 lives. Meanwhile, the country has also called up around 3,000 reservists in the hope of stopping Hamas.

Israeli intelligence services were caught off guard by the attack and experts believe it is because Israel “hopelessly misunderstood” the militant group.

“This is a huge failure of the intelligence system and the military apparatus in the south,” says gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, who served as Israel’s National Security Advisor between 2011 and 2013.

In addition to the operational failure of Israel’s authoritative intelligence services to see the well-orchestrated attack coming and the army’s inability to stop it, Israel’s broader approach to Hamas was completely flawed, Amidror said.

“We made a big mistake, me too, to believe that a terrorist organization can change its DNA,” he told journalists.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union.