Israel presses U.N. to investigate charges of sexual violence by Hamas fighters

Israel urges the United Nations to investigate allegations of sexual violence by Hamas fighters during an attack in October.

The allegations: Israel reports over 1,500 eyewitness accounts of sexual violence during the October 7 attack by Hamas fighters, including graphic accounts of rape and mutilation.
* Israeli officials point to witness accounts, bodies of women found unclothed, and gunshot wounds as evidence.
* This evidence, according to Israel suggests that the acts of sexual violence were premeditated.

What is the U.N. doing?: In response, U.N. officials have defended themselves and called for investigations into the allegations.
* U.N’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has declared support for an investigation.
* Israel has criticized major international organizations, including the U.N., for being slow to acknowledge and condemn the sexual violence.

The controversy: This issue is contentious, with Hamas denying the allegations and other groups accused of silence.
* Hamas denies that its fighters committed sexual assault and rape.
* Israeli officials, on the contrary, suggest these assaults were premeditated acts, not momentary lapses in judgment.

Looking ahead: This issue could have implications on the ongoing conflict and negotiations.
* The U.S. State Department suggests that the issue of sexual assault could be a reason why some hostages are still held in captivity.
* Over 100 hostages have been released, but 138 remain, including 15 women.
View original article on NPR
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