'Unimaginable cruelty': Biden condemns Hamas amid reports of rape, sexual assault of women

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden warned Tuesday the world must not turn a blind eye to reports that women and young girls have been subjected to horrific sexual abuse by Hamas militants.

Speaking at a campaign reception just outside of Boston, Biden cited what he called “appalling” reports that Hamas used rape to terrorize women and girls during its attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

“The world can’t just look away at what’s going on,” he said. “It’s on all of us – government, international organizations, civil society and businesses – to forcefully condemn the sexual violence of Hamas terrorists without equivocation. Without equivocation, without exception."

Biden’s comments came just one day after the U.N. heard evidence that Hamas militants committed crimes of sexual violence on Oct. 7. The evidence included graphic reports from first responders at the sites where militants struck and from military reservists who worked to identify the bodies of those killed.

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President Joe Biden says the world must not look away from reports that Hamas militants have sexually assaulted women and girls.
President Joe Biden says the world must not look away from reports that Hamas militants have sexually assaulted women and girls.

Hamas has denied the claims, dismissing them as an effort to distort the Palestinian resistance.

In his remarks, Biden said survivors and witnesses of the attacks have shared horrific accounts of “unimaginable cruelty” over the past few weeks.

“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,” he said. “It is appalling."

Biden said a temporary cease fire between Israel and Hamas ended last Friday because Hamas refused to release some of the women and girls it is holding hostage."These are civilian women, mostly between the ages of 20 and 39, whom Hamas has refused to let go,” he said. "Let me be crystal clear: Hamas’ refusal to release the remaining young women is what broke this deal and ended the pause in the fighting."

More than 100 hostages were freed under the agreement that the Biden administration helped negotiate. Biden said the remaining hostages should be returned to their families immediately.

“We’re not going to stop until we bring every one of them home,” he said. But, “it’s going to be a long process."

Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @mcollinsNEWS.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden calls Hamas rape allegations 'appalling,' renews condemnation