LBC presenter Natasha Devon issues apology over Israel 7 October massacre claims

Natasha Devon has apologised after saying there were “conflicting reports” as to whether Hamas committed sexual violence.

Natasha Devon has apologised for remarks made on her LBC show. (Getty)
Natasha Devon has apologised for remarks made on her LBC show. (Getty)

An LBC presenter has apologised after saying there were “conflicting reports” as to whether Hamas committed sexual violence during the 7 October attacks against Israel.

Natasha Devon had attempted to correct a caller who raised the subject of alleged rapes and mutilations carried out by the Palestinian militant group.

During the call-in on 27 April, she told the caller: “There are conflicting stories about that. There are some academics saying that there is absolutely no evidence that any sexual assaults took place.”

Devon has now apologised for the comment and has said she will donate her fee for last Saturday's show to Jewish organisation Diaspora Alliance.

“I made the point that it is sometimes difficult to establish precise facts when reporting or discussing the situation in Israel and Gaza,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Devon admitted there was “credible evidence some of the hostages taken on 7 October were subject to horrific sexual violence.”

She added: “I want to state here unequivocally that I believe them and I don’t dispute their testimonies.”

Devon apologised “unreservedly” and said her comments had been down to “an error of research”.

She wrote: “I’m disappointed with myself for allowing this to happen. I will do better in the future.”

Devon said she would repeat her apology on air on Saturday.

A team of United Nations experts reported in March that there were "reasonable grounds to believe" sexual violence, including rape and gang rape, occurred at multiple locations during the 7 October attack on Israel by Hamas.

The team – led by UN special envoy for sexual violence in conflict, Pramila Patten – visited Israel between 29 January and 14 February on a mission intended to gather, analyse and verify information on sexual violence linked to the attacks.

The 24-page UN report said: "Credible circumstantial information, which may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence, including genital mutilation, sexualised torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, was also gathered.”

It added: "The mission team found clear and convincing information that some hostages taken to Gaza have been subjected to various forms of conflict-related sexual violence and has reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may be ongoing.”

BEIT HANOUN, GAZA - MAY 1: Israeli army supervises the entrance of the humanitarian aids from Jordan that is being loaded onto trucks, to enter northern Gaza Strip through the Beit Hanoun (Eretz) Border Crossing on May 1, 2024 in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. (Photo by Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Israeli army supervises the entrance of the humanitarian aid from Jordan. (Getty)

The UN team said a "fully-fledged investigation" would be required to establish the overall magnitude, scope and specific attribution for the sexual violence.

Hamas has repeatedly rejected accusations of sexual violence.

The UN team added it also received information from institutional and civil society sources and direct interviews, about "sexual violence against Palestinian men and women in detention settings, during house raids and at checkpoints" after 7 October. The detention centres were in Israel.

It said it raised the allegations with the Israeli Ministry of Justice and Military Advocate General, which said no complaints of sexual violence against members of the Israeli Defence Forces had been received.

Hamas fighters attacked Israel on 7 October killing around 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's retaliation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has since killed around 34,000 Palestinians, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave.