President Joe Biden has forcefully denounced the reported rape and sexual violence against Israeli girls and women by Hamas militants following the October 7 attack on Israel, calling on the world to condemn such conduct “without equivocation” and “without exception”
Speaking at a campaign fundraiser in Boston on Tuesday, Biden noted that in recent weeks, female survivors and witnesses to the attacks have shared “horrific accounts of unimaginable cruelty”.
“Reports of women raped — repeatedly raped — and their bodies being mutilated while still alive — of women corpses being desecrated, Hamas terrorists inflicting as much pain and suffering on women and girls as possible and then murdering them,” Biden said. “It is appalling.”
Israel has said it is investigating several cases of sexual assault and rape from the Hamas attack on Israel. Witnesses and medical experts have said that Hamas militants committed a series of rapes and other attacks before killing the victims in the October 7 attack, though the extent of the sexual violence remains unknown.
Experts have been piecing together evidence in recent weeks in a case that is complicated because there are no known victims to testify and limited forensic evidence.
Biden's comments come as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has sought to put greater focus on the sexual violence it says Hamas committed during the October 7 attack that killed some 1,200 people on Israeli soil and led to another 240 being taken hostage. Some recently released hostages have shared testimonies of sexual violence and abuse during their time in Gaza.
Hamas has denied that militants committed sexual assaults.
Netanyahu railed against the lack of international response during a press conference on Tuesday evening.