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“Was beaten and dragged”: Israeli hostage recalls sexual assault in Hamas captivity

“Was beaten and dragged”: Israeli hostage recalls sexual assault in Hamas captivity

Amit Soussana was kidnapped in the deadly Hamas attack on October 7

Tel Aviv, Israel:

The Israeli military said on Wednesday an Israeli woman’s first-hand account of sexual assault in Gaza captivity required international “pressure” on the Palestinian group Hamas to release the remaining hostages.

A UN report in early March concluded that there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that Hamas committed rape when it stormed southern Israel on October 7, a deadly attack that sparked the ongoing war and that hostages brought to Gaza were also raped.

Israeli officials and groups have also presented evidence of sexual violence during the unprecedented Hamas attack, but Amit Soussana’s testimony, published Tuesday by The New York Times, appears to be the first time a survivor has spoken out publicly reports.

Soussana, an Israeli lawyer who was released during a week-long ceasefire in November, told the US newspaper that she was kidnapped from Kfar Aza, near the Gaza border, and taken to Hamas-held territory, where one of her abductors ” “I forced him to commit a sexual act.”

“He sat me on the edge of the bathtub. And I closed my legs. And I resisted. And he kept hitting me and pointing his gun in my face,” Soussana said New York Times.

“Then he dragged me into the bedroom.”

In a statement early Wednesday, military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the reported abuse “is a wake-up call to the world to act, to do everything possible and to put pressure on Hamas to free our hostages.”

The non-governmental Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel said on social media platform X that Soussana’s “heartbreaking statement compels the world to act.”

“The Israeli government and the world government must do everything possible to bring the remaining hostages home,” it said.

Soussana is one of about 250 Israeli and foreign hostages seized during the Oct. 7 attack. Israel believes that around 130 people remain in the Gaza Strip, including 33 who are presumed dead.

According to an AFP tally, there are at least 14 women among the remaining prisoners.

“Stand with the victims”

Hamas, which has long denied that its militants committed acts of sexual violence, expressed doubts about Soussana’s account in a response to The New York Times, saying an investigation was impossible under “current circumstances.”

The report said that her “personal account… is consistent with what she told two doctors and a social worker less than 24 hours after her release” and that the newspaper “agreed not to reveal the details.”

Soussana said she was held in underground tunnels and a private home during her 55 days of captivity and reported being beaten, threatened at gunpoint and tied to a bed.

“You are with him and you know that it can happen again at any moment,” Soussana said of the man she accuses of attacking her. “You are completely dependent on him.”

Israeli President Issac Herzog wrote on

The United Nations Security Council also called for the release of hostages on Monday in its first resolution since the start of the Israel-Hamas fight, calling for an “immediate ceasefire.”

The United States, which had vetoed previous resolutions, abstained, drawing a furious rebuke from Israel.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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