Amnesty demands probe into Gaza 'enforced disappearances'

AFP , Wednesday 20 Dec 2023

Amnesty International on Wednesday called for an urgent probe into Israel's "enforced disappearance" of Palestinian detainees from Gaza, following reports of deaths in military detention centres.

Israeli soldiers are seen along the Israeli-Gaza border, southern Israel, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. AP


Hundreds of Palestinians are being held in detention centres in southern Israel, having been arrested in military raids across the Gaza Strip since the beginning of Israel's war on 7 October.

"The Israeli military must urgently disclose the fate and whereabouts of everyone that it has detained since 7 October," Heba Morayef, Amnesty's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

"Israeli forces must specify the grounds of arrest for those detained and make every effort to provide families of those in its custody with information, particularly in light of the telecommunications blackouts that have cut off Gazans."

Amnesty demanded an investigation into the "inhumane treatment and enforced disappearance" of the detainees from Gaza.

The Israeli army on Tuesday said it was investigating the deaths of detainees arrested in Gaza.

It did not provide details regarding how many detainees had died or the circumstances of their deaths.

On Tuesday Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that "several of them have died" in these detention facilities.

The report said the prisoners died at the Sde Teiman base near the city of Beersheva.

The detainees held at this facility are "blindfolded and handcuffed for most of the day and the lights are on at the facility throughout the night", the report said.

Concerns for the fate of detainees from Gaza heightened last week after Israeli television showed scores of stripped Palestinian men sitting on a Gaza street in military custody.

One clip showed the arm of a soldier in the foreground, suggesting it was filmed by a member of the military.

In another clip, a group of blindfolded men are seen sitting with their hands tied behind their backs as Israeli soldiers watch them.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed at least 20,000 people, mainly women and children, and wounded more than 50,000 others, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The war has also displaced 1.9 million people (80 percent of the strip's population) sparking a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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