'Heartfelt sorrow' as family of missing Irish-Israeli woman Kim Damti confirm her death

The family of Irish-Israeli woman Kim Damti has confirmed her death following last weekend's attacks by Hamas.
The family of Irish-Israeli woman Kim Damti has confirmed her death following last weekend's attacks by Hamas.

The family of Irish-Israeli woman Kim Damti, who was missing following Saturday's attacks by Hamas in Israel, has confirmed her death.

The 22-year-old, whose mother is from Co Laois, was attending the Tribe of Nova dance music festival in Re'im, close to the Gaza border, when Hamas gunmen attacked the event, killing around 250 people.

Her aunt Pat Cooper said in a statement on Wednesday evening: "With heartfelt sorrow the Cooper family announce the death of their beloved niece, Kim Damti.

"We thank all those who have supported us with love and encouragement over the past five days.

"We respectfully request the media to allow us to grieve in the privacy of our family."

Ms Damti's sister Laura said in a social media post she felt "great sorrow" on learning the news, and said a funeral will take place on Thursday at Gedera in Israel's Shfela region.

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She said her sister had been "murdered by the cursed terrorists".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said in a statement that Ireland was "united in mourning" for Ms Damti.

"This vibrant young Irish-Israeli woman was struck down in her prime, with her adult life ahead of her," he said.

"Her death, and the deaths of more than a thousand other citizens of Israel and from around the world, was senseless and barbaric. 

“Kim gave happiness and joy to her family and those around her. As we learn of her death, we pause to think of her, her family in Israel and Ireland and of all those now grieving in countless other nations.”

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said news of Ms Damti's death was "devastating".

"Anyone looking at the photo of Kim in the media over the last few days will have been struck by the radiance and energy in her expression; a young 22-year-old woman with a whole life ahead of her, full of promise," he said.

"For anyone to lose a child is devastating. To lose a child in such circumstances is indescribable.

"On my behalf and on behalf of the government and people of Ireland, I convey our heartfelt condolences to Kim’s family in Ireland and in Israel. We are with them in their grief. I spoke with Kim’s family earlier this evening and expressed this to them."

Mr Martin added: "Our thoughts remain with all the families of those who have died, who are injured or who are missing in the wake of these terrible events. May her memory be a blessing."