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Organization demands investigation into Hamas sexual violence

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There must be a thorough investigation into the sexual violence against women and children by Hamas fighters during the attacks on October 7, 2023 in Israel. This is what Physicians for Human Rights Israel writes, who fear for the fate of the hostages.

Did Hamas fighters systematically sexually abuse women and children during their deadly march through Israel? It is one of the questions that remain to be answered about the deadliest day in Israeli history, October 7. Physicians for Human Rights Israel, an organization committed to protecting human rights and promoting health care in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, states in a new report that there are enough indications to launch a thorough investigation.

The organization collected chilling testimonies through various sources. For example, one man told how he hid behind a bush and saw how Hamas raped girls and then murdered them. “They laughed all the time. I couldn’t imagine how they could keep laughing like that during this horror.” Rami Shmuel, one of the organizers of the Nova music festival, said afterwards that they had found several women on the site: naked and with their legs open. Similar stories are also gradually emerging from the emergency medical services. For example, several women and teenagers were found half-naked and lifeless in their homes. A forensic investigator put it this way: “We have seen women who have been raped, from young children to older ladies. Some were penetrated with such force that their pelvises were bruised or even broken.” Only a single rape has surfaced in police documents by a direct eyewitness. The eyewitness described seeing a woman being raped in turn by a group of uniformed men before being shot in the head.

© SalamPix/ABACA

War crime

Elsewhere, two messages have also been found showing that two women had their breasts cut off and a pregnant woman and her unborn child were stabbed. A captured Hamas fighter has admitted – according to Israel – that they were ordered to ‘soil’ women from the start. “They use sexual violence as a psychological weapon and such facts point to systematic violence against women. The objectification of living and dead women is an extreme violation of human dignity,” the report concludes.

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The organization also fears that the hostages will suffer a similar fate if they are not released quickly. They also point out that sexual violence is always a war crime. The Israeli police have now opened an investigation and are seeking more information. The police also fear that no victim of sexual violence would have survived the horror.

Hamas denies that women have been raped. “Any sexual act outside of marriage is haram and therefore not permitted in Islam.”

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