U.N. to Study Reports of Sexual Violence in Israel During Oct. 7 Attack

A United Nations team has arrived in Israel to examine reports of sexual violence during the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7 even as Hamas and some critics of Israel continue to reject evidence that such assaults occurred.

Israeli officials have said that Hamas terrorists brutalized women throughout their incursion into southern Israel and have complained that U.N. leaders and others have been slow to condemn sexual assaults.

The U.N. visit comes after multiple news organizations reported allegations of sexual violence during the Oct. 7 attack. In a Dec. 28 article, The New York Times documented a pattern of gender-based violence in the attack and identified at least seven locations where Israeli women and girls appeared to have been sexually assaulted or mutilated.

The U.N. team “aims to give voice to survivors, witnesses, recently released hostages and those affected; to identify avenues for support, including justice and accountability; and to gather, analyze and verify information,” said a statement issued Wednesday by the office of Pramila Patten, the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, who is leading the visit.

While the Israeli government has welcomed Ms. Patten’s team, which arrived Sunday night, it has refused to cooperate with another U.N. body investigating Oct. 7 atrocities, accusing it of anti-Israel bias.

Hamas, which the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist group, denies that Palestinian fighters sexually assaulted women during the attack.

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