Report: Israel Police unable to find victims, witnesses of alleged Hamas sex crimes (MEMO, January 5, 2024)

Israel Police are struggling to locate the victims or witnesses of alleged sexual assaults that are said to have occurred during Hamas’ infiltration of Israel on 7 October, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported.

The paper said: “In the few cases where police have already amassed testimony about the sexual assaults Hamas committed during its massacre in southern Israel, they haven’t yet been able to identify the specific victims of the acts to which witnesses have testified.”

According to Haaretz, most of the testimonies covered by the Israeli and foreign media, including a New York Times report about the alleged sexual assaults, are based on the testimony of a young Israeli woman identified only as S.. An edited video clip of her testimony was shown at the United Nations.

Amid war and urgent need to ID bodies, evidence of Hamas’s October 7 rapes slips away (Carrie Keller-Lynn, 9 November 2023, Times of Israel)

[I]n the wake of the unprecedentedly large mass-casualty event, physical evidence of sexual assault was not collected from corpses by Israel’s overtaxed morgue facilities amid their ongoing scramble to identify the people killed, many of whose bodies were mutilated and burned. More than a month after Hamas rampaged through border communities near the Gaza Strip and a massive outdoor music festival, Israel is still identifying the dead through disaster victim identification protocols.

The decision — made under war footing and a pressing need to identify the dead — to not use time-consuming crime scene investigation protocols to document rape cases has, however, fueled international skepticism over Hamas’s sexual abuse of victims while it held control over parts of southern Israel on October 7.