Abducted women who weren't released as part of the hostage deal could be suffering from sexual abuse in the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit revealed Tuesday.
The remarks made by the IDF spokesperson align with a statement issued a day earlier by State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. “The fact that 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."
In essence, Miller essentially confirmed Israel's speculations that Hamas refuses to release 10 women currently known to be alive from captivity, solely out of fear that they would testify about their ordeals. A senior Israeli official commented in this context, stating: "We know why they are not returning them, and they know that we know."
Meanwhile, Israel persists in its condemnation of the failure to release 10 additional women from captivity, who were supposed to be freed in the last round that collapsed after Hamas did not meet the conditions.
"Israel is not willing to give up on these women; it insists that Hamas releases them," U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said. "Israel has stated that if Hamas is willing to do so, Jerusalem is ready to negotiate on additional categories of captives – men, wounded individuals and, ultimately, all IDF soldiers. We are exploring the give-and-take and observing how it unfolds. The best way forward is for Hamas to take responsibility for not fulfilling its part in the deal."