Ireland

I just want her back, says mother whose daughter is missing after Hamas attack

Rockets were fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday (AP)
Rockets were fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday (AP)

The mother of a 22-year-old Irish-Israeli woman who is missing after an unprecedented attack against Israel has spoken of her heartbreak as she waits for news about her daughter.

A surprise attack was launched by Hamas at daybreak on Saturday, with thousands of rockets fired into Israel and militants breaking down wire fences surrounding the Gaza enclave and entering Israeli villages.

Irish-Israeli citizen Kim Damti was attending a music festival near the Gaza border when gunmen arrived at the site.

In an interview with ABC News, her mother Jennifer Damti said her daughter had phoned them shortly after.

“Kim didn’t realise there was like seven or eight Toyota vans full of terrorists and they just shot everywhere,” she said.

“They just shot them, slaughtered them like ducks, and that’s the reason I’m here, ’cause I want the world to condemn this behaviour.

“I didn’t bring my children up to hate anybody.

“You can’t sleep. All I can think about is where she is, if she’s suffering, if she’s still alive. I just want her back,” she said.

“So many other mothers here today. I’m not the only one. Everybody is missing somebody.”

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Irish premier Leo Varadkar said they were aware of the case, and consular officials were in touch with the family.

Ireland’s deputy premier and foreign affairs minister Micheal Martin said the savagery of the “indiscriminate” attacks by Hamas had shocked people.

“Hundreds and hundreds of innocent people (were) slaughtered in the most savage way,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said that the surprise attack is “probably the worst attack that Israel has had to endure for 40 years now”.

“The Government condemns it unreservedly, there can be no excuse for targeting women, children, taking children and women, civilians as hostage,” the Taoiseach said on Sunday.

“I don’t think anyone could do anything other than condemn that and we do condemn it unreservedly.

“I would also urge restraint though by the Israeli authorities – there will be retaliation for this, I’m sure, but for the first time, I think in a very long time, Israel is united and the free world is standing in solidarity with Israel.

“But that could change, I think, if the response from Israel is excessive and results in unnecessary civilian deaths in Gaza, so very much that is this part of our message, too.”