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Building war crimes case against Hamas, Israeli investigators document cases of sexual violence against women in Oct. 7 massacre

Israeli Police Chief Kobi Shabtai speaking to the media, July 17, 2023. (Photo: David Cohen/Flash90)

Investigators from the Israel Police are in the process of establishing rape cases against Hamas terrorists who violated multiple Israeli women during the terror organization’s unprecedented invasion and assault of southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The move is part of Israel's wider initiative to work toward proving that the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 are, in fact, considered war crimes according to international law, including as it relates to sexual violence against women.

Aside from the brutality of the Hamas attacks against Israeli civilians, including indiscriminately torturing, burning and kidnapping of young and old, male and female, the repeated acts of violent rape of girls and women by Hamas terrorists and those who assisted, has not be given the full attention by the relevant international bodies, including the UN Security Council, UN Women and the International Red Cross.

Prosecuting the perpetrators of rape and the other violent crimes against women on Oct. 7, will allow Israel to present the relevant evidence needed to show that Hamas' aggression and its direct attacks upon civilians as the primary target deserves global condemnation as war crimes against humanity, according to the principles of international law which are meant to reflect the values and moral conscience of the international community.

David Katz, who heads the cybercrime unit at the Israel Police’s criminal investigation division, Lahav 433, says authorities already have access to several witnesses of the Hamas atrocities.

“We have multiple witnesses for several cases,” Katz said, referring to various sexual assaults perpetrated by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians.

The investigation of Hamas’ sexual assaults is part of a wider mapping of the Gaza-based terror group’s widespread torture and murder of 1,200 Israelis and foreigners, mostly civilians. Due to the magnitude of Hamas' crimes, the Israeli police believe a thorough investigation will take several more months.

A major challenge is the fact that many of the victims’ bodies were in such a bad condition that it has been very difficult to establish what assault had taken place.

“Many of the victims were in conditions too severe to identify, naked and with clear signs of sexual assault,” reads the description of horrific clips of variously unclothed female corpses that were stacked in piles.

So-called rape kits are optimally collected within 48 hours. However, Dean Elsdunne, a police spokesperson said that due to intense battles during the first two days, the kits did not receive high priority.

“In the first 48 hours, there was still an active combat zone,” Elsdunne said.

Despite the many challenges, Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai has confirmed that the police investigation has already produced “evidence indicating rape [and] amputation of organs.”

He explained that many of the victims who survived were in a very bad mental state and not ready to talk about the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists.

“Many of the victims who survived the massacres are not ready to speak,” Shabtai assessed.

A large number of the Hamas atrocities took place during the massacre of more than 260 mostly young participants of a large Israeli music festival that was being held close to the Gaza border that Saturday morning.

One survivor, identified as “Witness S.” confirmed that she saw several terrorists gang-raping, torturing, and then murdering young females.

“He is here raping her,” S. stated in a videotaped saying, “and then they pass her on to another person.”

The Hamas Oct. 7 border invasion and massacre is the largest single-day murder of Jews since the Holocaust and the most lethal day in modern Israel’s 75-year history.

“Mapping the Massacres” is the name of a recent project that seeks to visualize the immense scale of the atrocities committed by Hamas killer squads inside southern Israeli communities and at the outdoor music festival.

The detailed, interactive map includes the names and locations of the victims at the various sites of the attack.

“This interactive map serves as a reflection and an educational tool, promoting awareness of the gravity of the horrors,” is the stated message on the project’s website.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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