French-Israeli hostage freed by Hamas says feared rape in captivity

French-Israeli hostage freed by Hamas says feared rape in captivity
French-Israeli hostage freed by Hamas says feared rape in captivity

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A man walks past a wall showing portraits of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks by Hamas in southern Israel, in Tel Aviv December 28, 2023. Some 129 hostages remain in captivity in Gaza. — AFP pic

JERUSALEM, Dec 30 — An Israeli-French hostage freed by Hamas said in an interview broadcast yesterday that she feared rape while being held captive in the family home of her kidnapper in the Gaza Strip.

Mia Shem, a 21-year-old tattoo artist, was among 250 people taken hostage during Hamas’s October 7 attacks on southern Israel.

Shem said that her “biggest fear” in captivity was rape.

“There was a fear of rape, fear of dying,” Shem said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 13.

Shem said she was held in the home of one of her kidnappers.

“His wife was outside the room with the kids. That was the only reason he didn’t rape me,” Shem charged, adding that his captor did not take his eyes off her.

Shem was abducted from the site of a desert rave party called the Supernova festival and was released under a truce agreement at the end of November.

During her captivity, Shem said she remained locked up “in a dark room” and was “forbidden” from talking.

Wounded by a gunshot during her kidnapping, she said she had “no painkillers”.

More than two months after the bloody Hamas attack on Israel, accounts of sexual violence are on the rise.

Israeli officials have reiterated allegations that the militants who crossed over from the Gaza Strip on October 7 committed violent gang rape and genital mutilation, and engaged in sexual acts with children and corpses.

But the scarcity of survivor testimonies and the lack of forensic evidence make it difficult to assess their scale.

Around 250 hostages were taken to the Gaza Strip by Hamas when they attacked southern Israel on October 7.

The attack left around 1,140 people dead, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Some 129 hostages remain in captivity in Gaza.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, following the October 7 attack.

More than 21,500 people have been killed in its retaliatory assault in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. — AFP

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