Women’s genitalia stabbed and shot after terrorists raped them, says horrific new report

The New York Times examined videos, photos, GPS data and 150 accounts in its report on sexual violence by Hamas


Israeli soldiers mourn the dead at the site of the Nova festival in Re'im (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

An extensive and deeply shocking report on acts of sexual violence by Hamas on October 7 includes evidence that terrorists stabbed, shot and drove nails into women’s genitalia, with one witness saying they saw woman being raped as her breasts were cut off.

A two-month investigation by The New York Times used videos, photographs, GPS data from mobile phones and over 150 interviews with witnesses, medical personnel, soldiers and rape counsellors.

Soldiers and volunteer medics interviewed for the report described finding over 30 bodies of women and girls in and around the site of the Nova music festival - as well as two kibbutzim - in the same state: “Legs spread, clothes torn off, signs of abuse in their genital areas.”

Photographs viewed by investigators showed one woman’s thighs and groin penetrated by dozens of nails.

One witness at the music festival described seeing a woman “shredded into pieces”, her breasts cut off as terrorists take turns raping her. “One continues to rape her, and the other throws her breast to someone else, and they play with it, throw it, and it falls on the road,” said the witness.

Footage provided by the Israeli military showed two dead Israeli soldiers at a base near Gaza who “appeared to have been shot directly in their vaginas”.

Investigators from Israel’s top national police unit, Lahav 433, have been compiling evidence sexual violence committed on October 7 but, according to the New York Times, they cannot definitively number how many women were raped and said that most who had been raped are dead.

Raz Cohen, a young Israeli security consultant who had been attending the rave in Re’im, was hiding in a location along Route 232 when he witnessed five men gang rape a young woman.

“They all gather around her,” Mr Cohen said. “She’s standing up. They start raping her. I saw the men standing in a half circle around her. One penetrates her. She screams. I still remember her voice, screams without words.

“Then one of them raises a knife,” he said, “and they just slaughtered her.”

Yinon Rivlin, a member of the rave’s production team who lost two brothers in the attacks, told the New York Times that after hiding in a ditch, he walked along Route 232, looking for survivors.

There he found the body of a young woman, lying on her stomach without pants or underwear, her legs spread apart. Rivlin said her vagina area appeared to have been sliced open, “as if someone tore her apart.”

Similar disturbing scenes were discovered at Kibbutz Be’eri and Kfar Aza, where at least 24 bodies of women and girls were found “naked or half naked, some mutilated, others tied up, and often alone”.

A paramedic in an Israeli commando unit told the New York Times that he found the bodies of two teenage sisters, 13 and 16, in a house in Be’eri. One was lying on her side, shorts ripped, with bruises around her groin. The other was on the floor face-down, the paramedic said, with her pyjama pants pulled down around her knees, “bottom exposed, semen smeared on her back.”

One harrowing video showed an Israeli woman identified at first only by the black dress her body had been found in.

Filmed in the early hours of October 8, the video showed the remains of the woman with her black dress torn, vagina exposed, and legs spread open. Her face was burned beyond recognition. Her body was filmed lying beside a burnt-out car on Route 232, a road where four witnesses told the New York Times in “graphic detail” that they had seen women being raped and murdered.

The woman in the video was identified by her family as 34-year-old Gal Abdush, a mother of two. She and her husband, Nagi Abdush, 36, had been at the Nova music festival when Hamas terrorists attacked.

The newspaper reported that the couple had been fleeing the festival via Route 232 when Ms Abdush sent a final message to her family on WhatsApp: “You don’t understand.”

According to the report, Ms Abdush's body was identified several days before her husband’s, whose remains were so charred that authorities identified him only by DNA and his wedding ring. The couple had been together since they were teenagers.

Many of those killed on October 7 were transferred to the Shura military base in central Israel for identification, where witnesses also confirmed seeing signs of sexual violence. Captain Maayan, who worked at Shura, said that she had seen “at least 10 bodies of female soldiers from Gaza observation posts with signs of sexual violence.”

Maayan reported seeing “several bodies with cuts in their vaginas and underwear soaked in blood and one whose fingernails had been pulled out.”

According to Gil Horev, a spokesman for Israel’s Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, at least three women and one man who were sexually assaulted on October 7 survived the attacks, but “None of them has been willing to come physically for treatment,” he told The New York Times.

Two therapists who were working with a woman who had been gang raped at the rave said she was “in no condition to talk to investigators or reporters.”

Despite an abundance of video and photographic evidence of gender-based sexual violence committed by Hamas, Moshe Fintzy, a deputy superintendent and senior spokesman of Israel’s national police, said, “We have zero autopsies, zero.”

Because Jewish funerals are held promptly to allow families to begin the shiva mourning period, many bodies which showed signs of sexual violence were buried without first receiving an autopsy, and the evidence of what they endured was buried with them.

Some emergency medical workers told interviewers that they had disrupted crime scenes by moving bodies, cutting zip ties on victims’ wrists and cleaning up blood. “Trying to be respectful of the dead, they inadvertently destroyed evidence,” the report said.

Mirit Ben Mayor, a police chief superintendent, told The New York Times that she believed the reason for Hamas’ brutality against Israeli women was a combination of two evils: “the hatred for Jews and the hatred for women.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive