President Joe Biden has denounced the reported rape and sexual violence against Israeli girls and women by Hamas militants following the October 7 attack on Israel.
The US president called on the world to condemn such conduct “without equivocation” and “without exception”.
Speaking at a campaign fundraiser in Boston, Mr Biden said female survivors and witnesses to the attacks have shared “horrific accounts of unimaginable cruelty”.
He said: “Reports of women raped — repeatedly raped — and their bodies being mutilated while still alive — of women corpses being desecrated, Hamas terrorists inflicting as much pain and suffering on women and girls as possible and then murdering them. It is appalling.
“The world can’t just look away at what’s going on.
“It’s on all of us — government, international organisations, civil society and businesses — to forcefully condemn the sexual violence of Hamas terrorists without equivocation. Without equivocation, without exception.”
Israel has said it is investigating several cases of sexual assault and rape from the Hamas attack, with witnesses and medical experts saying militants committed a series of rapes and other attacks before killing the victims during the October 7 attack.
Experts have been piecing together evidence in a complicated case because there are no known victims to testify, and there is limited forensic evidence.
Mr Biden’s comments come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has sought to put greater focus on the sexual violence it says Hamas committed. Recently released hostages have shared testimonies of sexual violence and abuse during their time in Gaza.
Hamas has denied that militants committed sexual assaults.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Netanyahu railed against the lack of international response.
He said: “I say to the women’s rights organisations, to the human rights organisations, you’ve heard of the rape of Israeli women, horrible atrocities, sexual mutilation — where the hell are you?”
Israel hosted a special event at the United Nations on Monday where former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and former Meta chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg were among those who criticised what they called a global failure to support women who were raped, sexually assaulted and in some cases killed.