23 February 2024,   01:41
Truce probably collapsed over refusal to free female hostages – US

A week-long truce between Israel and Hamas probably fell apart because Hamas refused to free female hostages, according to US state department spokesman Matthew Miller, writes BBC.

“It seems one of the reasons they don’t want to turn women over that they’ve been holding hostage and the reason this pause fell apart is they don’t want those women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody”.

Miller told journalists that the group did not want the women to speak publicly about sexual violence and that the US government had “no reason to doubt” reports of rape.

But Miller provided no evidence to support his claim and also said that he could not say “with a definitive assessment that that is the case”.

The remarks come after hundreds protested outside the US headquarters on Monday criticising the organisation for inaction over the mistreatment, abduction and rape of Israeli women.

This happened as a meeting at the UN heard testimonies from Israeli auhtorities and others who laid out evidence that Hamas had committed sexual violence in its 7 October attack. An Israeli women’s rights campaigner and lawyer recently said that Hamas had had a premeditated plan to use sexual violence as a weapon of war. The group rejected such accusations, calling them lies.