UN Team Finds Reason to Believe Hamas Raped Victims

Envoy reports 'inhumane forms of torture and other horrors'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2024 7:55 PM CST
UN Team: Evidence Suggests Hamas Attack Included Rapes
A general view of the United Nations headquarters in New York in 2020.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

A team of United Nations experts reported Monday it found reason to believe that during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, women in Israel were sexually assaulted, raped, and gang raped. In calling for a full investigation, the report said the attacks took place in at least three places, including the site of the Nova music festival. "In most of these incidents, victims first subjected to rape were then killed," Pramila Patten, the UN special representative, said in a news conference in New York, NPR reports. In at least two cases, Patten said, corpses were raped.

"The mission team also found a pattern of victims, mostly women, found fully or partially naked, bound, and shot," the report said. The team said it found "credible circumstantial information" indicated victims were subjected to genital mutilation and sexualized torture, per Reuters. Some Israeli hostages being held in Gaza also were subjected to sexual violence, the report said, basing its findings on accounts by hostages who have been released, per the AP. In the past, Hamas has rejected accusations that its fighters committed sexual violence.

Patten's team gathered information in Israel and the West Bank from late January to early February. An Israeli spokesman praised the UN report for recognizing "that the crimes were committed simultaneously in different locations and point to a pattern of rape, torture and sexual abuse," per the New York Times. Patten described the assignment as difficult. "We saw a catalog of the most extreme and inhumane forms of torture and other horrors," she said. Her team's findings do not in "any way legitimize further violence," Patten said, but emphasize the need for a cease-fire. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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