Hamas terrorists are refusing to release ten of their female hostages because they do not want them to reveal what they have been subjected to while being held captive, a US official has claimed.
State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said that this was the reason the week-long ceasefire, which came after Hamas agreed to release over 100 hostages over several days, ended.
Mr Miller said: ‘It seems that one of the reasons Hamas doesn’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 declined to share specific details on how women were treated by Hamas, citing sensitivities. He also declined to name the women Hamas refused to release.
But he said that the United States had ‘no reason to doubt’ reports of sexual violence by Hamas.
Miller said that the United States had ‘no reason to doubt’ reports of sexual violence by Hamas
He declined to share specific details on how women were treated by Hamas, citing sensitivities
State Department spokesperson Matt Miller (pictured) said: [Hamas] don’t want those women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody
‘There is very little that I would put beyond Hamas when it comes to its treatment of civilians and particularly its treatment of women,’ Miller said.
The State Department’s comments follow the White House’s condemnation of Hamas for its refusal to release the women and children it captured during its deadly incursion into Israel on October 7.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Monday: ‘The basic bottom line when it comes to where we are in the hostage negotiations, is that the first phase of the hostage negotiation was about the release of women and children.
‘Hamas continues to hold women and civilian women and will not release them. And Israel is not prepared to close the book on those women or to give them up, so Israel is insisting that Hamas follow through on the release of those women.’
A Hamas fighter and Red Cross medics help a newly released Israeli hostage Maya Regev into a Red Cross vehicle, in the Gaza Strip early on November 26
Emily was led to safety and reunited with her father after 50 days in captivity
Nine-year-old Irish Israeli former hostage Emily Hand embraces her father at a hospital in Israel after being released by Hamas, amid an exchange operation of hostages against prisoners between Hamas and Israel, on November 26
Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, (pictured, centre) was taken against her will from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz during Hamas’ incursion into Israel on October 7
‘Israel has said if Hamas is prepared to follow through on that, Israel is absolutely prepared to discuss additional categories of hostages, civilian men, the wounded and ultimately all of the hostages, the idea of soldiers being held.’
The first group of 13 hostages were released on November 24, after Hamas and Israel agreed to a temporary ceasefire.
They also agreed to free women and children held behind enemy lines, with Hamas initially agreeing to free 50 hostages in exchange for Israel freeing 150 Palestinians from jail.
The deal was open-ended, and allowed for more days of ceasefire in exchange for more prisoners and hostages being released.
Hamas, desperate for a brief respite from the war that has so far killed at least 15,000 of its civilians in Gaza, according to figures deemed trustworthy by the UN, made the most of the extensions, releasing a total of 105 hostages.
The night sky is lit up by an Israeli missile landing in the south of Gaza
While the ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, Gaza’s health ministry said 70% of the dead were women and children
The war has had a significant toll on Palestinians in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
Israel says it targets Hamas operatives and blames civilian casualties on the militants
But the deal was not extended past a week, which Israel said was because Hamas refused to produce a list of ten hostages before the deadline.
An unnamed Israeli official told the Times of Israel that they believe ‘Hamas is lying about the number of women in their possession.’
The exact number and identities of the women still held by Hamas is not currently known.
One released hostage, Mia Schem, was compelled to parrot Hamas propaganda praising her captors before she was released.
French-Israeli civilian Mia, 21, spent 54 days in captivity after being shot and taken hostage at the Nova festival massacre on October 7. She was finally released on Thursday, after requiring medical attention from a vet while in captivity.
But before she was freed, she was made to film a video speaking about her experience as a hostage. In an emotional clip shared by Hamas, she says: ‘People very good, very kind to me… Food good and the kindness and everything good.’
The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory since October 7 has surpassed 15,890, with more than 41,000 wounded
Hopes for another temporary truce faded after Israel called its negotiators home over the weekend
Hamas said talks on releasing more of the scores of hostages seized by militants on October 7 must be tied to a permanent cease-fire
Her aunt, Vivian Hadar, revealed that a veterinarian operated on her badly injured hand, which was shot while she was raving with her friends on October 7.
She said that the treatment was a bodge job, and has stayed very quiet about her weeks underground.
‘She isn’t telling much,’ Hadar said, adding that the moment relatives started asking questions, ‘we saw that it was very hard for her.’
Sharon Hertzman Avigdori, 52, and her 12-year-old daughter Noam were released as part of the second round of ceasefire negotiations.
Sharon, a therapist who works with people on the autism spectrum, and her daughter were two of several members of their extended family who were released in late November.
Also released from Hamas custody were Sharon’s sister-in-law Shoshan Haran, 67, Shoshan’s daughter Adi Shoham, 38, along with her son Navehs, eight, and Yahel, three.
Israel’s military is currently pushing deeper into the south of the Gaza Strip, after it called on Gazans to flee the enclave in its pursuit to wipe out the territory’s Hamas rulers.
The IDF has consistently called on Gazans to flee the enclave in its pursuit to wipe out the territory’s Hamas rulers
Israel’s military is currently pushing deeper into the south of the Gaza Strip
The war has displaced over three-fourths of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents, who are running out of safe places to go
The war has already killed more than 15,000 Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents, who are running out of safe places to go.
The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory since October 7 has surpassed 15,890, with more than 41,000 wounded.
While the ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, it said 70% of the dead were women and children.
Israel says it targets Hamas operatives and blames civilian casualties on the militants, accusing them of operating in residential neighborhoods.
The United States, Qatar and Egypt, which mediated last week’s ceasefire, say they are working on a longer truce.
But hopes for another temporary truce faded after Israel called its negotiators home over the weekend.
Hamas said talks on releasing more of the scores of hostages seized by militants on October 7 must be tied to a permanent cease-fire.