Irish woman (22) missing after Hamas attacks rave in southern Israel

‘She’s a happy kid trying to have fun. They shot them down like ducks,’ says the mother of Kim Damti

Twenty-two-year-old Kim Damti, who holds joint Irish and Israeli citizenship, is one of the many people unaccounted for following Saturday morning’s surprise attacks inside southern Israel by hundreds of Hamas militants.

Ms Damti was attending an all-night outdoor rave with hundreds of others close to the Gaza border when the first rocket barrage hit close to 7am on Saturday, taking everyone by surprise.

In the last phone call made by Ms Damti, at 7am on Saturday, she was running with a friend towards a car in an attempt to flee the rocket barrage. That was the last contact with her.

Hamas gunmen opened fire on the partygoers as they fled the scene. Dozens were killed, and many bodies at the site have still not been identified. Others were seized by the armed militants and taken across the border into the Gaza Strip.


Ms Damti’s mother, Jennifer (60) from Portlaoise, is one of dozens of distraught parents who are trying to determine what happened to their children at the rave.

“She’s just a brilliant kid. A happy kid trying to have fun. They shot them down like ducks. So many kids were slaughtered there,” her mother told The Irish Times.

Some of the partygoers managed to run to local kibbutz farming communities, but Hamas gunmen infiltrated many of the communities and went from house to house, killing some of those they found and taking others by force to Gaza.

In the ensuing chaos it took the army hours to reach all the communities, leaving kibbutz members to engage the gunmen themselves before Israeli special forces arrived.

Firefights were still taking place in some communities on Sunday afternoon.

“Kim’s name was originally on a list of those who had reached a safe kibbutz but she was not on the buses that evacuated those at the rave,” said her mother.

Speaking further in an interview with ABC News, Jennifer Damti said her daughter had phoned them shortly after gunmen arrived.

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

“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.”

The Israeli authorities had still not released the names of those missing by Sunday evening or said how many were seized but have vowed to settle the score with any militants who harm the Israeli hostages, referred to by Hamas as prisoners of war.

Ms Damti is one of five siblings, all of whom were born in Israel. The family lives in the central Israeli town of Gadera but often spend their summer holidays in Ireland.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the case and was providing consular assistance to the family.

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss is a contributor to The Irish Times based in Jerusalem