Gaza Ceasefire Crumbles: Hamas accused of withholding hostages to silence sexual violence victims

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A senior U.S. official reveals that the extension of the Gaza ceasefire collapsed due to suspicions that Hamas, accused of sexual violence against female hostages, refused to release them to prevent potential testimonies. Despite an initial agreement brokered by Qatar and the United States for the release of hostages abducted on Israeli soil, not all women were freed, prompting Israel to resume its military offensive.

Allegations prompt military offensive resumption

Israeli authorities claim that Hamas failed to release all female hostages, leading to the decision to resume military operations. Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the State Department, suggests a motive behind Hamas’s reluctance: “They don’t want these women to tell what happened to them during their captivity.”

Investigating disturbing testimonies

Israeli police are investigating potential sexual violence committed by Hamas fighters on October 7, with reports of gang rapes and mutilation of corpses. The policewoman in the Israeli Parliament discloses, “over 1,500 shocking and distressing testimonies,” detailing incidents of girls being undressed and collective rape. Hamas denies these allegations, labeling them as “lies.”

U.S. stance: no doubt on Hamas’s capability

The U.S. spokesperson, while emphasizing the sensitivity of the issue, states that the United States has “no reason to doubt” the information about sexual violence attributed to Hamas. He asserts, “There are very few things I think Hamas is not capable of regarding the treatment of civilians and especially the treatment of women.”

Hostage crisis details

On October 7, Hamas commandos killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 240 individuals to the Gaza Strip. Currently, 137 remain hostages. In response, the Israeli military launched airstrikes on Gaza, leading to ongoing hostilities. The conflict has resulted in 15,899 deaths, with 70% being women and those under 18 years old, according to the Hamas Health Ministry in Gaza.

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