October 7 Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes by Hamas-led Groups

Hamas’ military wing – the Qassam Brigades – and at least four other Palestinian armed groups committed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity against civilians during the October 7, 2023 assault on southern Israel. Governments with influence over the armed groups should press for the release of civilian hostages, an ongoing war crime, and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

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For the past nine months, Human Rights Watch has continued to document ongoing atrocity crimes and human rights violations in Palestine and Israel. For this report, we analyzed over 280 videos and photographs that, combined with witness accounts, helped to identify exactly what happened on October 7, where and when and to whom, as well as who was responsible. The purpose of this research was to bring facts to light and support accountability efforts by documenting the abuses committed on October 7 and identifying those responsible. 

Photographs of Israelis taken as hostages during an October 7 attack by Hamas-led fighters, at a protest demanding their release, outside the HaKirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 17, 2023. 

Human Rights Watch research found that Palestinian armed groups involved in the assault on Israel on October 7, 2023, committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law – also known as the laws of war – that amount to war crimes.