UN team says rape, gang rape likely occurred during Hamas attack on Israel

March 5, 2024 11:06 am

[Source: Reuters]

A team of United Nations experts reported on Monday that there were “reasonable grounds to believe” sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, occurred at several locations during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants.

The team – led by U.N. special envoy for sexual violence in conflict Pramila Patten – visited Israel between Jan. 29 and Feb. 14 on a mission intended to gather, analyze and verify information on sexual violence linked to the Oct. 7 attacks.

“Credible circumstantial information, which may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence, including genital mutilation, sexualized torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, was also gathered,” read the 24-page U.N. report.

Article continues after advertisement

Palestinian militant group Hamas has repeatedly rejected accusations of sexual violence.

Hamas fighters attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Israel’s retaliation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has since killed around 30,000 Palestinians, health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave say.

“The mission team found clear and convincing information that some hostages taken to Gaza have been subjected to various forms of conflict-related sexual violence and has reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may be ongoing,” the U.N. report said.

The team said a “fully-fledged investigation” would be required to establish the overall magnitude, scope and specific attribution for the sexual violence.