A State Department official on Monday said that Hamas is refusing to release women and children who were taken hostage to keep them from testifying about sexual violence they experienced.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a press conference that Hamas is at fault for ending a cease-fire with Israel without releasing some hostages.
"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," Miller said in a response to a question about evidence of rape and sexual abuse being committed by Hamas on Oct. 7.
"Certainly, there is very little that I would put beyond Hamas when it comes to its treatment of civilians, and particularly its treatment of women," he added.
Miller later specified that he didn't know this "for a fact," but added that "near the end of that pause last Wednesday, we were getting towards the end, Hamas was still holding onto women that should have been the next to be released. They refused to release them. They broke the deal, came up with excuses why."
He said: "Ultimately, I don't think any of those excuses were credible, and I shouldn't get into any of them here. But certainly one of the reasons that a number of people believe they refused to release them is they didn't want people to hear what those women would have to say publicly."
Theodore Bunker ✉
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
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