“They burned her:” At the end of an awful wait for news comes word that a feared hostage is dead


PARIS (AP) — Because of the fracture in her right leg, Karin Journo had talked herself out of going to the Tribe of Nova music festival and sold her ticket. But a week before Hamas militants turned the party into a killing ground, she bought another.

The 24-year-old French-Israeli airport worker who loved to travel had learned that a bunch of her friends were going to celebrate the departure of one of them to the United States. She didn’t want to miss out.

Before heading out to dance the night away, she snapped a photo of herself in her party gear — black shorts and black halter top for a joyous night of electronic music in a dusty field. She’d left her long dark hair untied and painted her nails bright red. She was clearly excited, giving a V-sign in her selfie.

And dance she did: Video shot that night showed her waving her arms to the thumping beats, though she was rooted to the spot by the gray protective boot that encased her right foot and calf all the way up to her knee.

It made her easy to recognize in subsequent video footage filmed as Hamas started to launch its deadly attack.

Sheltering behind a car with a friend, her face was marked with worry. With explosions echoing in the background, she looked around anxiously in another. In a final video, she is seen sitting just outside the open door of an ambulance, wearing a brown hoodie borrowed from a friend. Two people were laid out inside the vehicle, not moving.

At 8:43 that Saturday morning she sent a text to her loved ones, according to her father, Doron Journo: “To the whole family, I want to say that I love you a lot, because I am not coming home.”

It turned out to be her final message.

After an awful wait of more than a week for news and of not knowing whether Karin was a hostage in Gaza, the family got word from the Israeli military that her remains had been found.

The military said the ambulance Karin had been sheltering beside was subsequently hit by a rocket, her sister, Meitav Journo, said by text message.

“They burned her,” the sister wrote.

The funeral for Karin Journo was held Tuesday.

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