Israel-Gaza live updates: ‘Hundreds’ of sex crimes testimonies from Oct. 7, IDF says

Written by on December 5, 2023

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(NEW YORK) — The temporary cease-fire between Hamas and Israel ended early Friday, and Israel has resumed its bombardment of Gaza.

The end of the cease-fire came after Hamas freed over 100 of the more than 200 people its militants took hostage during the Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel. In exchange, Israel released more than 200 Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

Here’s how the news is developing:

Dec 05, 1:14 PM EST
State Dept. imposes visa restrictions on individuals ‘undermining peace’ in West Bank

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new visa restriction policy on Tuesday “targeting individuals believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security or stability in the West Bank.”

The policy includes those “committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities,” Blinken said in a statement.

During a visit to Israel last week, Blinken said he “made clear that the United States is ready to take action using our own authorities” and that Israel must “take additional measures to protect Palestinian civilians from extremist attacks.”

He added that the U.S. would also continue to engage with the Palestinian Authority to stress that it needed “to do more to curb Palestinian attacks against Israelis.”

ABC News’ Shannon K. Crawford

Dec 05, 10:43 AM EST
IDF says it has ‘hundreds of testimonies of rape and sex crimes’ from Oct. 7

Israeli authorities say they have collated “hundreds of testimonies of rape and sex crimes” they claim was committed by Hamas militants during the Oct. 7 terror attack.

A document from the Israel Defense Forces details allegations of sexual violence, with “almost all of the testimonies” coming from eyewitnesses and first responders who were present at the scene during or after atrocities, the document states. This is because “virtually all” of the victims of sexual violence were also murdered on Oct. 7, according to the document.

The IDF said the document offers “only a small part of an immense body of information of evidence of Hamas’ sex crimes” and said the evidence “proves beyond all doubt that Hamas and other … terrorists used rape and sexual violence systemically against Israeli women and children,” according to the IDF.

One IDF volunteer quoted in the document described seeing many young women “in bloody, shredded rags, or just in underwear.”

“Our team commander saw several (female) soldiers who were shot in the crotch and intimate areas,” the IDF volunteer said, according to the document.

The IDF alleges that some members of Hamas who were captured and then interrogated also gave testimony that women were sexually abused on Oct. 7.

An Israeli paramedic quoted in the document said they inspected the bodies of two teenage girls who had been murdered. One of the girls “had her pants pulled down towards her knees … and there’s the remains of semen on the lower part of her back,” the document states.

A survivor of the Oct. 7 attack, Gad Liebersohn, quoted in the document said that “for two hours I’m hiding and hearing people getting kidnapped and women getting raped … begging for their lives.”

Hamas, the militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, has denied the allegations that its fighters committed sexual violence during the Oct. 7 attack on neighboring southern Israel.

Cochav Elkayam-Levy, the head of Israel’s Civil Commission on Oct. 7 Crimes by Hamas Against Women and Children, has described what she called “widespread rape evidence.”

ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge

Dec 05, 8:57 AM EST
At least two injured after rocket hits Israeli residential building, authorities say

Rocket fire struck a residential building in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Tuesday afternoon, according to Israel’s emergency medical service MDA.

At least two people — a 67-year-old and a 60-year-old — were wounded by shrapnel while standing in the parking lot next to the building’s entrance, according to MDA, which said its staff provided treatment on site and transported the two victims to a nearby hospital.

Dec 05, 6:55 AM EST
Hospital in northern Gaza under siege, health ministry says

Another hospital in the northern Gaza Strip is under siege by Israeli troops, Gaza’s Hamas-run Ministry of Health said Tuesday.

Israeli tanks and snipers have surrounded Kamal Adwan Hospital, where more than 7,000 displaced people are sheltering, according to the health ministry. Israeli troops are allegedly firing at “anyone who moves,” the health ministry said.

The power was also cut from the hospital, according to the health ministry.

Dozens of wounded people as well as the bodies of at least 108 who have died are currently inside Kamal Adwan Hospital, according to the health ministry.

There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

Just four hospitals remain operational in northern Gaza, according to the health ministry, as medical services in the besieged enclave struggle to deal with the mounting casualty toll.

Dec 05, 6:28 AM EST
At least 30 killed in airstrike on school in southern Gaza, hospital says

Dozens of people were killed or wounded in an Israeli airstrike that allegedly targeted a school housing displaced families in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, according to local medical staff.

A spokesperson for Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis told ABC News that it had received scores of patients from the scene, including 30 who had died and dozens who were injured.

There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

The strike came on the heels of the IDF’s announcement that it would be expanding its offensive on Gaza’s militant rulers, Hamas, across the entire strip.

Dec 05, 1:38 AM EST
‘Nowhere is safe in Gaza’: WHO

The World Health Organization painted a bleak picture of the situation in Gaza on Monday night and called for Israel “to take every possible measure to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, as per the laws of war.”

According to the latest information from the WHO, there are only 18 functioning hospitals in Gaza, with three only providing first aid and the remainder just partial services.

With an increasing number of Palestinians displaced as the war continues, the WHO says, “syndromic surveillance has noted increases in infectious diseases, including acute respiratory infections, scabies, jaundice, diarrhoea, and bloody diarrhoea. Shelters in the south are also reporting cases of acute jaundice syndrome, a worrisome signal of hepatitis.”

The WHO previously said, “syndromic surveillance systems seek to use existing health data in real-time to provide immediate analysis and feedback to those charged with investigation and follow-up of potential outbreaks.”

The WHO warned thousands are likely to be cut off from health care services due to increased ground operations by Israel in southern Gaza. The open hospitals are operating beyond capacity, with the bed occupancy rate at 171% and intensive care units at 221%, the WHO said, based on data from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

WHO workers called the situation at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis “catastrophic, with the building and hospital grounds grossly overcrowded with patients and displaced people seeking shelter.”

The WHO said in a statement Monday night it has recorded 203 “attacks on hospitals, ambulances, medical supplies, and the detention of health-care workers attacks on hospitals, ambulances medical supplies” between Oct. 7 and Nov. 28.

“This is unacceptable,” the WHO’s statement read. “There are means to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and they should be instituted.”

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