October 7 attack
More than 360 people died in the attack on the music festival on October 7 (AP/Ohad Zwigenberg) Image by AP PHOTO

Massacre victim used to distort events of October 7

David Williams December 22, 2023

An image shows an Israeli tank using a Supernova festival massacre victim as a human shield.


False. The tank was shielding festival participants from Hamas militants, not using them as a human shield.


Social media users are attempting to muddy the facts about Hamas’s October 7 attack on a music festival by claiming Israeli soldiers used partygoers as human shields.

One such claim states an image of a woman crouching by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tank shows high-profile massacre victim Shani Louk being intentionally exposed to Hamas militants.

The claim is false. Video footage from the Supernova festival shows the tank in question was shielding partygoers, not using them as a human shield.

Additionally, the person seen in the image used to make the claim is unlikely to be Ms Louk.

Ms Louk, a 22-year-old German-Israeli tattoo artist, became symbolic of the brutality of the October 7 attack after a viral video showed Hamas militants parading her body in Gaza on the back of a truck.

However, analysis of footage related to the October 7 attack shows the person crouching by the IDF tank appears to be a different festival-goer with similar hair and clothes to Ms Louk.

Shani Louk fake
 The claim is being spread on Facebook and Twitter. 

The claim that a “leaked image” shows Ms Louk “was being used as a human shield by an IDF tank” was made on December 8 by an Australian user on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The same social media user previously posted a false claim to Facebook that said participants killed in the attack were not targeted by Hamas but merely caught in the crossfire of a shootout between militants and IDF troops.

The new claim has been shared on Facebook (here and here) as well as on other social media platforms (here, here and here).

The posts show a still of what appears to be a woman crouching near an IDF tank. The person in the image has braids or dreadlocks, which are blond from below the shoulders. She appears from the image to be wearing a black top and black pants.

The posts claim Ms Louk “was wearing the same black bikini outfit seen in the video where she was picked by Palestinians”.

The wording misrepresents what happened to Ms Louk.

Shani Louk Presser
 Shani Louk’s mother speaks about her daughter at a press conference 

The exact circumstances of her death remain unclear, at the time of writing.

However, news reports say Ms Louk was initially thought to have been kidnapped alive by Hamas militants. However, her family later confirmed Ms Louk was dead and was probably killed at the festival site.

Her body was subsequently removed from the site and paraded in Gaza.

Hamas militants killed more than 360 people at the Supernova psytrance music festival, held about 5km from the Gaza-Israel barrier near Kibbutz Re’im in Israel.

Dozens of other festival-goers were taken hostage, with the fate of many still unknown.

It’s not possible to completely rule out that the woman in the image is Ms Louk, though it appears to be a different festival attendee, possibly the person seen in other video clips taken during the attack such as here, here and here.

This clip, in particular, shows a woman with blond braids sheltering behind the tank. The video shows enough of the woman’s face to confirm that it is not Ms Louk.

A video of Ms Louk dancing at the festival shows Ms Louk’s hair is not braided and her dreadlocks don’t extend all the way to the top of her head, as appears to be the case with the woman seen crouching by the tank. There also appears to be more blond colour in the hair of the woman by the tank.

The festival footage shows Ms Louk dancing in a brown top and skirt though other footage purportedly shows Ms Louk on the morning of the attack wearing black clothes similar to those worn by the woman by the tank.

Regardless of the identity of the woman, the image does not show her being used as a human shield by an IDF tank.

The tank arrived at the festival site during the attack, as shown in this US ABC footage (video mark 3m 20s).

The 22-year-old’s death has become indelibly associated with the events of October 7.

Later footage shows festival-goers sheltering behind the tank while gunshots are heard in the distance.

A timeline of the attack compiled by Le Monde also shows people, including police, taking cover behind the tank (video mark 2m 23s).

In this video, a man says he and others ran towards the tank for shelter as the terrorists surrounded them on all sides (video mark 2m 39s).

The false claim that an IDF tank used Ms Louk as a human shield has been analysed and debunked by X account @GeoConfirmed.

The Verdict

The claim an image shows an Israeli tank using a Supernova festival massacre victim as a human shield is false.

There is no solid evidence the female in the image is Shani Louk. Analysis of footage taken during the attack suggests the woman is a different festival attendee with a similar hairstyle.

Regardless of the identity of the woman in question, it is false to claim the image shows her being used as a human shield. Multiple videos taken during the massacre show festival participants sheltered behind the tank to protect themselves from Hamas militants.

This is backed up by several accounts of survivors.

False — The claim is inaccurate.

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