UN experts call for investigation into killing of women and children in Gaza

In one instance, women were kept in a cage 'in the rain and cold, without food', the UN said

A panel of UN experts wants an investigation into the conduct of Israeli troops in Gaza following reports of killings and abuse of Palestinian women and children. Reuters
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The UN has called for an investigation into “credible reports” of killings, sexual assault and “other degrading” treatment of women and children by Israeli troops in Gaza.

“We are shocked by reports of the deliberate targeting and extrajudicial killing of Palestinian women and children in places where they sought refuge, or while fleeing,” UN experts said.

“Some of them were reportedly holding pieces of white cloth when they were killed by the Israeli army or affiliated forces.”

During their “arbitrary detention”, the women and girls were reportedly denied sanitary products, food and medicine, and severely beaten.

On at least one occasion, women were kept in a cage “in the rain and cold, without food”.

Some were “stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers”, the experts said, adding that they received at least two reports of rape and threats of rape and sexual violence.

“Photos of female detainees in degrading circumstances were also reportedly taken by the Israeli army and uploaded online.”

Hamas said the UN statement is proof that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, and that must be part of the case against it at the International Court of Justice over the course of eight days from February 19.

“The statement issued by a group of UN experts, which documented the blatant human rights violations to which Palestinian women and girls are specifically subjected in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, is confirmation and additional evidence of the crime of genocide and ethnic cleansing committed by the occupation,” the group said in a statement to Telegram on Tuesday.

In December, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said a mother and daughter were shot dead by Israeli forces in the Church of the Holy Family compound in Gaza city.

“Seven more people were shot and wounded as they tried to protect others inside the church compound,” the church said.

“No warning was given. No notification was provided,” it said, accusing Israel of killing the mother and child in “cold blood”.

In January, the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reported that two brothers were murdered by Israeli forces as they attempted to enforce an order to evacuate a building in Khan Younis.

Nahed Adel Barbakh was carrying a white cloth when he was shot, Euro-Med said.

“His brother, Ramez, was shot and killed while trying to pull Nahed away from the line of fire,” the group said.

The Barbakh family posted on Facebook a photo of the two brothers' bodies.

The National has contacted the Israeli army for comment on the UN call for an investigation.

Updated: February 20, 2024, 10:45 AM