UN Opens Investigation Into Hamas Accused of Sexual Assault During Israel Attack

According to a spokeswoman on Wednesday, the UN will begin an information-gathering mission at the end of the month in response to claims that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the October attack in Israel.

UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict Pramila Patten will “gather information on sexual violence reportedly committed in the context of the attacks of October 7 and its aftermath,” according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, during her visit to Israel and the West Bank.

In order to find resources for help, she is anticipated to meet with victims, witnesses, and other individuals impacted by sexual assault, according to Dujarric. Patten also intends to speak with “recently released hostages and detainees.”

According to him, Patten’s journey is a part of “the exercise of her mandate in accordance with a standard UN methodology,” and she will “be accompanied by experts in safe and ethical interviewing, forensic evidence, digital analysis, and accountability.”

The UN has come under fire for reportedly taking too long to act upon victim reports of rape and sexual abuse that occurred during Hamas’s foray into Israel. An AFP calculation based on government numbers indicates that 1,140 people died in Israel as a consequence of the strike, the majority of them civilians.

Around 250 hostages were also taken by militants; of these, Israel claims that 132 are still in Gaza, with at least 25 of them thought to have been dead. In November, roughly 100 of the hostages were freed as part of a prisoner exchange.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, which is managed by Hamas, Israel has reacted with a ruthless military operation that has killed at least 23,357 individuals, the majority of them women and children.

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