DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli navy has rounded up hundreds of Palestinians throughout the northern Gaza Strip, separating households and forcing males to strip to their underwear earlier than trucking some to a detention camp on the seashore, the place they spent hours, in some instances days, subjected to starvation and chilly, in line with human rights activists, distraught kin and launched detainees themselves.

Palestinians detained within the shattered city of Beit Lahiya, the city refugee camp of Jabaliya and neighborhoods of Gaza Metropolis mentioned they have been sure, blindfolded and bundled into the backs of vans. Some mentioned they have been taken to the camp at an undisclosed location, almost bare and with little water.

“We have been handled like cattle, they even wrote numbers on our palms,” mentioned Ibrahim Lubbad, a 30-year-old pc engineer arrested in Beit Lahiya on Dec. 7 with a dozen different relations and held in a single day. “We might really feel their hatred.”

The roundups have laid naked an rising tactic in Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza, consultants say, because the navy seeks to solidify control in evacuated areas within the north and gather intelligence about Hamas operations almost 10 weeks after the group’s deadly Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. Militants killed about 1,200 folks and abducted over 240 that day.

In response to questions on alleged mistreatment, the Israeli navy mentioned that detainees have been “handled in line with protocol” and got sufficient meals and water. The military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, mentioned the boys are questioned after which informed to decorate, and that in instances the place this did not occur, the navy would guarantee it would not happen once more. These believed to have ties to Hamas are taken away for additional interrogation, and dozens of Hamas members have been arrested to date, he mentioned.

Photographs and video exhibiting Palestinian men kneeling in the streets, heads bowed and palms sure behind their backs, sparked outrage after spreading on social media.

To Palestinians, it’s a stinging indignity. Amongst these rounded up have been boys as younger as 12 and males as outdated as 70, and so they included civilians who lived extraordinary lives earlier than the warfare, in line with interviews with 15 households of detainees.

“My solely crime is just not having sufficient cash to flee to the south,” mentioned Abu Adnan al-Kahlout, an unemployed 45-year-old with diabetes and hypertension in Beit Lahiya. He was detained Dec. 8 and launched after a number of hours when troopers noticed he was too faint and nauseated to be interrogated.

Israeli forces have detained at the least 900 Palestinians in northern Gaza, estimated Ramy Abdu, founding father of the Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, which has labored to doc the arrests. Based mostly on testimony it collected, the group presumes Israel is holding most detainees from Gaza on the Zikim navy base simply north of the enclave.

The Israeli navy declined touch upon the place the detainees have been taken.

Palestinians cowered with their households for days as Israel poured heavy machine-gun hearth into Beit Lahiya and Jabaliya, the firefights with Hamas militants stranding households of their properties with out electrical energy, working water, gas or communications and web service.

“There are corpses in all places, unnoticed for 3, 4 weeks as a result of nobody can attain them to bury them earlier than the canine eat them,” mentioned Raji Sourani, a lawyer with the Palestinian Heart for Human Rights in Gaza. He mentioned he noticed dozens of lifeless our bodies as he made his manner from Gaza Metropolis to the southern border with Egypt final week.

Palestinians recounted troopers going door to door with canine, utilizing loudspeakers to name on households to come back outdoors. Most often, ladies and youngsters are informed to stroll away to search out shelter.

Some launched detainees described enduring humiliating stretches of near-nudity as Israeli troops took the pictures that later went viral. Some guessed they have been pushed a number of kilometers (miles) earlier than being dumped in chilly sand.

Launched detainees mentioned they have been uncovered to the coolness of night time and repeatedly questioned about Hamas actions that the majority could not reply. Troopers kicked sand of their faces and beat those that spoke out of flip.

A number of Palestinians held for twenty-four hours or much less mentioned they’d no meals and have been pressured to share three 1.5-liter bottles with some 300 fellow detainees.

Darwish al-Ghabrawi, a 58-year-old principal at a U.N. faculty, fainted from dehydration. Mahmoud al-Madhoun, a 33-year-old shopkeeper, mentioned the one second that gave him hope was when troopers launched his son, realizing he was simply 12.

Returning dwelling introduced its personal horrors. Israeli troopers dropped detainees off after midnight with out their garments, telephones or IDs close to what seemed to be Gaza’s northern border with Israel, these launched mentioned, ordering them to stroll by way of a panorama of destruction, tanks stationed alongside the street and snipers perched on roofs.

“It was a demise sentence,” mentioned Hassan Abu Shadkh, whose brothers, 43-year-old Ramadan and 18-year-old Bashar, and his 38-year-old cousin, Naseem Abu Shadkh, walked shoeless over jagged mounds of particles till their ft bled.

Naseem, a farmer in Beit Lahiya, was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper as they made their option to a U.N. faculty in Beit Lahiya, Abu Shadkh mentioned. His brothers have been pressured to depart their cousin’s physique in the course of the street.

Israeli officers say they’ve purpose to be suspicious of Palestinians remaining in northern Gaza, provided that locations like Jabaliya and Shijaiyah, in japanese Gaza Metropolis, are well-known Hamas bastions.

Human rights teams say mass arrests ought to be investigated.

“Civilians should solely be arrested for completely essential and crucial causes for safety. It is a very excessive threshold,” mentioned Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch’s regional director.


This story has been up to date to appropriate the identify of the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor. It’s Ramy Abdu, not Rami Abdo.


DeBre reported from Jerusalem.


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