‘Grounds to believe’ rapes committed during Hamas attacks: UN report

Connie Queline

‘Grounds to believe’ rapes committed during Hamas attacks: UN report

United Nations, Mar 05, 2024 -There are “reasonable grounds to believe” rapes were committed during Hamas‘ October 7 attacks on Israel and that hostages subsequently taken to Gaza have also been raped, a UN report said Monday.
UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten found “clear and convincing information” that some hostages had been raped, and believes “that such violence may be ongoing against those still held.”
As the UN faced criticism for reacting too slowly to the rapes and sexual violence that Israel accuses Hamas of committing on October 7, Patten, accompanied by experts, visited Israel and the West Bank for two and a half weeks in early February.
“In the context of the coordinated attack by Hamas and other armed groups against civilian and military targets throughout the Gaza periphery, the mission team found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence occurred in multiple locations during the 7 October attacks, including rape and gang-rape,” the report said.
These happened in at least three locations — the Nova music festival site and its surroundings, Road 232, and Kibbutz Re’im, it added.
“In most of these incidents, victims first subjected to rape were then killed, and at least two incidents relate to the rape of women’s corpses,” the report said.
Despite calls for victims of sexual violence to come forward and testify, none did.
However, members of the mission were able to interview survivors and witnesses of the October 7 attacks, as well as members of the health services.
They viewed 5,000 photographs and 50 hours of footage of the attacks.
They were also able to talk to some of those hostages who had been released.
SOURCE

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