Israel amputates Gazan prisoners' limbs as wounds go untreated

Newly released detainee says some prisoners were offered water when requesting treatment for serious injuries

Gazan prisoner's leg amputated 'due to lack of medical care'

Gazan prisoner's leg amputated 'due to lack of medical care'
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Gazans detained by Israel after suffering serious injuries have told of grim conditions in captivity that in some cases have led to limbs being amputated after medical treatment was denied.

Ghassan Abu Salah was "handcuffed and blindfolded" during almost all of his 53 days in Israeli custody.

He was taken from the Palestinian Red Crescent headquarters in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, where he was seeking shelter with his family after he was displaced from his own home. He was among 150 Gazans released on Monday at the Karam Abu Salem border crossing.

"I was handcuffed and blindfolded the entire time," Mr Abu Salah told The National.

"They tightened the restraints so any movement of your hands would cause more and more pain, and when we asked the soldiers to loosen them, they refused," he said over Whatsapp.

Other injured prisoners who requested treatment for their wounds were denied it and offered water instead, Mr Abu Salah said.

The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the claims of torture by prisoners in their custody.

Mr Abu Salah's brother Sufian, 43, who was taken with him from the Palestinian Red Crescent headquarters, was already suffering from an injured leg when he was detained. In custody, his leg became infected and swollen, Mr Abu Salah said.

"Eventually he was taken to Tel-HaShomer hospital where they amputated his leg," he said, referring to a hospital in Tel Aviv.

Earlier this month, an Israeli doctor blew the whistle on Israel's treatment of Gazan prisoners. He said prisoners were being placed in circumstances that were detrimental of their health, and said the Israeli government were at risk of violating international law.

"Just this week, two prisoners had their legs amputated due to handcuff injuries, which unfortunately is a routine event," the unnamed doctor said in a letter sent to Israel's Defence Minister, Health Minister and Attorney General, Haaretz reported.

A 12-year-old, Nimer Al Nimer, was among the detainees released on Monday. He had spent two weeks in Israeli custody. He was taken while struggling to reach aid that had been dropped in Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza. He said Israeli soldiers shot him and arrested him.

"I was injured in my abdomen, hand, back, and legs by bullets. Then they kicked my head with their boots. They did not treat me well. They only provided me basic treatment before putting me in prison," he told The National.

The boy was interrogated and asked about his family members' "activities", he said, referring to whether they were involved with Hamas or other armed groups that Israel considers a threat.

His parents are currently in Gaza city's Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood. He has no way of being reunited with them as he remains in the south where he was released. As a result of his detention, he missed the opportunity to spend Eid Al Fitr with his family.

"I wanted to spend Eid with my family, not inside Israeli prisons. I am worried about my parents and my young sister. She used to wake me up and ask me to bring her food, I want to be reunited with them," he said.

Updated: April 16, 2024, 5:45 AM