Bet Shemesh, Israel:
Israeli police said Tuesday they were investigating “several cases” of alleged sexual violence against women by Hamas during the October 7 attacks, citing “multiple witnesses” to incidents of rape.
Since the Hamas attack, police have been gathering evidence about allegations of sexual violence from witnesses, surveillance footage and the interrogations of Palestinian operatives arrested in the aftermath.
“We have no living victims who said ‘we have been raped’,” said David Katz, head of the Lahav 443 criminal investigation unit”, but he added that “we have multiple witnesses for several cases”.
Although he did not give a precise figure for the number of cases under investigation, he said the inquiry could take “six to eight months”.
At a news conference, police showed reporters footage of testimony from a survivor of the attack on the Supernova music festival who described seeing a woman gang-raped then shot.
In the footage, the witness, who was identified only as “S”, said she witnessed a group of women being “taken to a specific place by armed men, wearing military uniforms”.
“I understood they raped them,” she said, also describing how she saw another woman raped and mutilated by several armed men, with one shooting her in the head during the act.
Katz also outlined details of other evidence collected by police, including from the ZAKA organisation that recovers human remains in accordance with Jewish religious law to afford them a proper burial.
“We have several statements from people from ZAKA who saw the bodies of women without pants or underwear,” he said.
“We took more than 1,000 statements and some of the victims cannot speak due to being in psychological and medical treatment,” he said.
During the attacks, Hamas operatives rushed across the border into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, Israeli officials say.
Israel has hit back with a massive bombardment of Gaza and a ground operation, which the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says has so far killed more than 11,200 people, two-thirds of them women and children.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)