Palestinian detainees arrested & stripped naked by Israeli army did not belong to Hamas: Yedioth Ahronot

Ahram Online , Monday 11 Dec 2023

The Palestinians who were recently arrested by the Israeli army in Gaza and stripped nearly naked are not members of Hamas, according to a report by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot.

Captured and detained Palestinians sit on a street in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip


Most of the Palestinian detainees were released after being questioned, the newspaper reported, citing the Israeli army. 

The detainees were not Hamas fighters but civilians who had no connection to the resistance group, the Israeli newspaper added.

On Thursday, photos of video emerged of the Israeli army detaining large numbers of Palestinian men stripped to their underwear, often blindfolded and handcuffed, including around Beit Lahia in northern Gaza

When the footage first emerged, one of the detainees was identified as Al-Araby Al-Jadeed’s correspondent in Gaza Diaa Kahlout.

One group of released detainees, some of whom were young children, described the harrowing experience during an interview with Al Jazeera.

One young boy described being separated from the rest of his family and taken to a house where he and others were beaten by soldiers.

Several other detainees reported being beaten after being stripped.

In perhaps the most chilling account, one man reported that Israeli soldiers carried out a mock execution in which some of the detainees were thrown in a pit in the ground while a nearby bulldozer appeared poised to bury them.

The Israeli army justified stripping the detainees to their underwear, claiming they are necessary to "detect suicide vests" and "search for weapons."

However, this claim has received pushback on social media.

Charlie Herbert, a former general in the British army with 34 years of experience, including six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said on X, formerly Twitter: “In 34 years of quite challenging infantry soldiering I’ve never once seen scenes like those in the IDF photos. Not once.”

He went on to say that the practice is far more likely to be a “determined and deliberate effort to humiliate, degrade, and dehumanize.”

The BBC also found that some of the footage published by the Israeli army purporting to show the captives carrying weapons was staged, without being able to determine exactly what the video shows.

The footage drew swift condemnation, with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressing concern and affirming that detainees must be treated with humanity and dignity, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Hamas accused Israel of "carrying a "heinous crime against innocent civilians."

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