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 November 22, 2023

Former hostage Shani Gabay was pronounced dead seven weeks following the Hamas massacre

On Wednesday, authorities announced that they had identified the body of Shani Gabay, 25, who had been missing since Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7 and was previously thought to be a hostage.

Gabay, a resident of Yokne'am, was working the celebration when she was wounded in the leg; he fled to a police command post for safety, as The Times of Israel reported.

It has since been confirmed that she was among the over 360 people slain and at least 40 taken captive when Hamas militants stormed the outdoor celebration near Re'im.

More than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed over the whole attack on southern Israel, and more than 240 were carried hostage to Gaza, sparking the continuing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“We had hoped for a different ending,” her brother Aviel told the Ynet news site. “We believed until the last moment that Shani was alive. We went through 47 nerve-racking days of stress, anxiety and worry, and today it all vanished.”

Statement from Local Officials

The town's mayor, Simon Alfasi, wrote "Our Shani is gone. Our hearts are broken into pieces. We are all crying and refuse to believe, how much we waited for a different ending," according to  JPost.

"Forty-seven days of hope came to an end with receiving the bitter news this morning about the murder of Shani on October 7.

The city leader went on to say, "My heart goes out to her dear parents Jacob and Michal, her brother Aviel and her sister Nitzan - who for seven weeks turned every stone and went everywhere in Israel and the world to find Shani, and fought and cried out to bring her home. We all hug the family and stand by their side. May her memory be a blessing."

Aviel told Maariv that they were "hoping for a different ending, and today we unfortunately discovered the worst ending possible. We believed for many days that she would come back, we were optimistic that there would be a happy ending.

"We will forever remember her joy and happiness. She was amazing and we hoped she would continue to spread her goodness in the world. She was just beginning her life and was in the middle of a law degree, which she will never finish."

The Attack

She was driving at the time, and her mother called and told her to pull over to a safe location. She hid in a field shelter close to Kibbutz Alumim as missiles rained down on the area, unaware that terrorists were also openly shooting at those attending a nearby event.

Gabay had two friends who stayed in the bunker and each lost a leg because of grenades thrown by the terrorists. Gabay was taken away from where they took shelter seems to have been shot to death in her car.

She found an ambulance, and the paramedic took her to the police headquarters. Family members pieced together surveillance footage to determine that Gabay's last known location was at the police station.

“She was told to run,” her brother Aviel had previously said, “but we don’t know how well she could have run by that point.”

November 29 would have been Gabay's 26th birthday. She had recently completed her law degree and was known for being an avid traveler, dog lover, and loved social events such as Supernova.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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