At least 10 of the Israeli hostages released by Hamas - both men and women - were sexually assaulted or abused while in captivity, an Israeli doctor has said.
This view was corroborated by testimonies from released captives at a meeting on Tuesday that included the Israeli War Cabinet and family members of those still held in Gaza.
The doctor, who made his comments to Associated Press after treating some of the 110 released captives, spoke on condition of anonymity to protect the hostages’ identities.
Hostages endured brutal conditions in captivity, many suffering physical violence including beatings, degradation and body hair shaving, an unnamed former hostage told Haaretz.
“They touch girls, and everyone knows it. I won't recount details, but we had a procedure that no one moves without someone guarding them,” another female hostage told Haaretz. “Medications ran out, and they gave us the wrong drugs,” she said.
State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller suggests “one of the reasons [Hamas doesn’t] want to turn women over that they’ve been holding hostage — and the reason this pause fell apart — is they don’t want those women to talk about what happened to them.” pic.twitter.com/GOlM3PHgVR— The Recount (@therecount) December 4, 2023
Aviva Segal, who was freed from Hamas captivity last week and whose husband, a US citizen, is still a hostage, reportedly said during the War Cabinet meeting that some of the women hostages were “being touched.”
Others reportedly said during the meeting that both men and women were sexually assaulted.
Ronen Tzur, the director of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, said after the gathering that “this was an unusual meeting. Members of the cabinet heard for the first time from freed female hostages describing the difficult things that are going on in the tunnels, including sexual abuse, and the fact that the airstrikes are happening very close to where the captives are being held.”