Viral footage appears to show Palestinians stripped, held in Gaza

Journalists are reported to be among the men who were forcefully searched

By AFP

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Photo: RamiJarrah/X
Photo: RamiJarrah/X

Published: Fri 8 Dec 2023, 1:47 PM

Israeli TV appeared to show Thursday scores of stripped Palestinian men sitting on a Gaza street in military custody, with a London-based news outlet saying one of its journalists was among them.

The clips had already circulated widely on social media, with a preliminary AFP Factcheck review suggesting the scene was filmed in Beit Lahia in the north of the Gaza Strip, though geolocating the footage precisely was difficult.

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. AFP was unable to verify where the men were being held.

Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari, when asked about these images, said at a briefing that "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," Hagari said, without offering other details regarding the clips.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, a London-based, Arabic-language news outlet, said on X, formerly Twitter, that among those detained was its reporter Diaa Al-Kahlout, as well as members of his family.

A report in its English-language sister publication 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," it said.

Al-Araby strongly condemned the arrest in a statement and called for rights groups to help in securing the release of its journalist, The New Arab said.

Ramy Abdu, the founder and chairman of the Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, said in a post on X that he also recognised his friend Al-Kahlout among the detainees, as well as the director of a school and a United Nations employee.

"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?'" Abdu said.

Nada is Al-Kahlout's daughter who needs special care and medical equipment to survive, he added.

Much of northern Gaza is in ruins after weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Israel declared war on the Palestinian militant group after its bloody attack on October 7 in southern Israel, which killed around 1,200 people, Israeli officials say.

Israel's brutal attacks in Gaza have killed nearly 17,200 people, according to the territory's health ministry.

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