A 24-year-old American woman, Danielle Waldman, and her Israeli boyfriend were among the 260 people killed in a deadly attack by the militant group Hamas at a music festival in southern Israel on October 11th.

Danielle, who was originally from Palo Alto, California, had been living in Israel for some time and was attending the Nova music festival with her boyfriend of six years, Noam Shai. According to Danielle’s father, Eyal Waldman, the couple was planning to get married soon and had just moved into a new apartment with their dog a few weeks prior.

Locating the Victims

In the aftermath of the attack, Eyal Waldman initially held out hope that his daughter had only been kidnapped and not killed. Using the location tracking features on Danielle’s phone and Apple smartwatch, Eyal was able to determine the location where she and Noam were attacked.

Describing the scene, Eyal said the couple’s white Toyota appeared to be surrounded and shot at from two directions by 3 to 5 Hamas militants armed with AK-47 assault rifles. Shell casings found at the scene indicated multiple gunmen fired upon the vehicle.

“I have seen exactly how she was murdered from two directions by at least three to five people that had attacked it,” Eyal told CNN. “From the shells that we have found, there were at least three guns that were shooting at the car.”


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Remembering the Victims

Those who knew Danielle described her as someone who was loved by everyone she met. “She’s done nothing wrong and nothing bad to anyone,” her father said.

Eyal’s last conversation with his daughter was shortly before the attack, when she mentioned her upcoming wedding plans with Noam. Now the couple will be buried together instead.

“Each and everyone that met her have loved her,” Eyal told CNN. “They had only been there for a few weeks, now we will need to see what to do with all their belongings.”

Despite the horrific attack, Eyal affirmed that Israel would remain strong in the long term. The families of Danielle, Noam and all of the victims will be seeking justice and mourning their profound loss.


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A Deadly Hamas Attack

The Nova music festival attack represented the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel’s history. Hamas claimed responsibility, stating it was retribution for recent Israeli military operations in the West Bank.

In addition to the 260 killed, over 700 were injured and many were held hostage before being rescued by Israeli security forces. The high casualty count highlighted major security failures, prompting resignation of Israel’s public security minister.

Hamas, regarded as a terrorist group by the U.S. and other Western nations, has ruled Gaza since 2007 and often clashes with Israel. While this attack was the group’s deadliest, Hamas has a long history of suicide bombings, rocket attacks and other violent actions targeting Israeli civilians.

The killing of innocent festival-goers, including American Danielle Waldman, has been internationally condemned as an act of terrorism. Israel has vowed to respond with military force against Hamas. Further escalation of violence between the bitter enemies appears imminent.


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