UNITED STATES NEWS

UN envoy says ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Hamas committed sexual violence on Oct. 7

Mar 4, 2024, 6:00 PM

(AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

(AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

 

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy focusing on sexual violence in conflict said in a new report Monday that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe Hamas committed rape, “sexualized torture,” and other cruel and inhumane treatment of women during its surprise attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

There are also “reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may be ongoing,” said Pramila Patten, who visited Israel and the West Bank from Jan. 29 to Feb. 14 with a nine-member team.

In the report, she said the team “found clear and convincing information” that some hostages have been subjected to the same forms of conflict-related sexual violence including rape and “sexualized torture.”

The report comes nearly five months after the Oct. 7 attacks, which left about 1,200 people dead and some 250 others taken hostage. Israel’s war against Hamas has since laid waste to the Gaza Strip, killing more than 30,000 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. The U.N. says a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million people face starvation.

Patten’s report said the team’s visit “was neither intended nor mandated to be investigative in nature.”

She said the team was not able to meet with any victims of sexual violence “despite concerted efforts to encourage them to come forward.” However, team members held 33 meetings with Israeli institutions and conducted interview with 34 people including survivors and witnesses of the Oct. 7 attacks, released hostages, health providers and others.

Based on the information it gathered, Patten said, “there are reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence occurred during the 7 October attacks in multiple locations across Gaza periphery, including rape and gang rape, in at least three locations.”

Across various locations, she said, the team found “that several fully naked or partially naked bodies from the waist down were recovered – mostly women – with hands tied and shot multiple times, often in the head.”

While this is circumstantial, she said the pattern of undressing and restraining victims “may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence.”

At the Nova music festival and its surroundings, Patten said, “there are reasonable grounds to believe that multiple incidents of sexual violence took place with victims being subjected to rape and/or gang rape and then killed or killed while being raped.”

She said credible sources described finding murdered victims, mostly women, naked from the waist down, many shot in the head.

On Road 232 — the road to leave the festival — “credible information based on witness accounts describe an incident of the rape of two women by armed elements,” Patten said. Other reported rapes couldn’t be verified during their time in Israel.

But she said “the mission team also found a pattern of bound naked or partially naked bodies from the waist down, in some cases tied to structures including trees and poles, along Road 232.”

Patten said that in kibbutz Reim, the mission team verified the rape of a woman outside a bomb shelter and heard of other allegations of rape that could not yet be verified.

At Kibbutz Be’eri, Patten said, her team “was able to determine that at least two allegations of sexual violence widely repeated in the media, were unfounded due to either new superseding information or inconsistency in the facts gathered.”

These included a highly publicized allegation that a pregnant woman’s womb was reportedly ripped open before being killed with her fetus stabbed inside her, Patten said.

___

Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

 

United States News

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

8 hours ago

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on Sunday, May ...

Associated Press

Helicopter carrying Iran’s hard-line president apparently crashes in foggy, mountainous region

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country's foreign minister apparently crashed in mountainous Iran on Sunday.

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Child is among 3 dead after Amtrak train hits a pickup truck in upstate New York

NEW YORK (AP) — A child was among the three victims killed when a passenger train hit a pickup truck, officials said. The northbound Amtrak train hit a Dodge truck Friday evening in North Tonawanda, New York, a small town along the Niagara River between Niagara Falls and Buffalo, police said. The victims included a […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

11 hurt in mass shooting that marked a weekend of gun violence in Savannah, Georgia

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — An argument between two women led to a gunfight that left 11 people hurt in a busy tourist area of Savannah, Georgia, late Saturday, one of five weekend shootings in the city, two of which were fatal, authorities said. Two people were injured in separate shootings Friday. Two more shootings Saturday […]

14 hours ago

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protesters set up a new encampment at Drexel University

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pro-Palestinian protesters set up a new encampment at Drexel University in Philadelphia over the weekend, prompting a lockdown of school buildings, a day after authorities thwarted an attempted occupation of a school building at the neighboring University of Pennsylvania campus. Up to 60 protesters were at the encampment on the campus’ Korman […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Power restored to most hit by deadly Houston storm with full service expected by Wednesday

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston area residents affected by deadly storms last week received some good news as officials said power was restored Sunday to a majority of the hundreds of thousands who had been left in the dark and without air conditioning during hot and humid weather. The widespread destruction of Thursday’s storms left at […]

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

UN envoy says ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Hamas committed sexual violence on Oct. 7