Dozens of Palestinian men stripped and paraded by Israeli military in Gaza

Images circulated of men blindfolded at an unknown location draw international condemnation

The Israeli army forced Palestinian men to strip and held them blindfolded in Gaza City
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The Israeli army has been accused of arresting children during raids on people's homes in Gaza as images emerged showing dozens of Palestinian men stripped and paraded through the streets.

Pictures circulated on social media and Israeli TV show Israeli soldiers rounding up scores of men and transporting them using lorries.

One image shows dozens of men in Gaza City wearing only underwear with their hands cuffed behind their back.

Gaza city resident Rana Al Jayar posted an appeal on Facebook after the Israeli army raided her sister's home and arrested "every member of her family".

"They took everyone in the apartment, except my sister," she told The National.

"They even took my nine-year-old niece and her 16-year-old and 17-year-old sisters. They took gold belonging to my sister and mobile phones."

Ms Al Jayar said she has no information on the whereabouts of her family.

“We don't have any news about them and [we] worry about their safety" she said.

Maha Hussaini, strategy director at the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor in Geneva, says about half the people detained were released.

"The Israelis rounded up tens of civilians including university students, doctors and UNRWA school instructors as well as other civilians," she told The National.

"This is Israel's way of portraying victory in the absence of real images of victory against Hamas during the war."

Israeli army spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari said “we are investigating to see who is linked to Hamas and who is not”.

Asked about the images, Adm Hagari said “terrorists were surrendering”.

“They hide underground and come out and we fight them. We investigate and check who is connected to Hamas and who is not,” he said, without offering other details on the clips.

Hamas has condemned the Israeli move against what it says are innocent civilians.

"The kidnapping, invasive searches, and disrobing, documented in a criminally explicit manner, once more reveal behaviours typical of mercenaries and terrorist militias lacking any principles and disregard for laws," it said in a statement referring to the Israeli army.

"We hold the occupation forces responsible for the lives and well-being of these civilians."

London-based Arabic news outlet Al Araby Al Jadeed said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that one of its journalists, reporter Diaa Al Kahlout, was among the men, as were members of his family.

Al Kahlout's sister told the Euro-Med monitor that the Israeli army forced him to leave his disabled sister, Nada, seven, behind.

"He was arrested under armed threat, stripped down to his underwear and beaten," the monitor said in a statement on Friday.

A report in its English-language sister outlet The New Arab said the Israeli military had arrested Al Kahlout “along with his brothers, relatives and other civilians, from the market street in Beit Lahia”.

“Al Kahlout was among dozens of Gaza residents arrested by Israeli forces in Gaza and were forced to strip off their clothes and were searched and humiliated before they were taken to an unknown location, according to eyewitness reports,” The New Arab report said.

Ramy Abdu, founder and chairman of the Euro-Med monitor, said he spotted Al Kahlout among the detainees.

“I had begged him to leave Beit Lahia to go south of Wadi Gaza, but he told me 'How can I leave my dear Nada and my elderly mother?'” Mr Abdu said.

He also recognised the director of a school and a UN employee, he said.

The images come at a time when Israel is continuing to press on with its offensive to capture Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip.

The death toll in the Palestinian enclave has soared above 17,000, mostly women and children, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said, and vast areas have been reduced to a rubble-strewn wasteland of bombed and bullet-scarred buildings.

Updated: December 08, 2023, 12:19 PM