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Israel-Palestine war: Palestinian detainees from Gaza die in Israeli custody, says report

Hundreds held in Israeli prison compound without beds and lights switched on all night long, according to Haaretz
Israel soldiers transfer detained Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip on 21 November 2023 (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
Israeli soldiers transfer detained Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip on 21 November 2023 (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Several Palestinians from Gaza held by Israel in a military detention facility have died in unclear circumstances, according to a report in Haaretz on Monday. 

Hundreds of Palestinians in the besieged enclave have reportedly been arrested by Israeli soldiers and taken to a detention facility near Beersheba, in the Negev desert in southern Israel. 

Several of those taken have since died, with the circumstances of their deaths not being explained by Israeli authorities. 

Israel's military told Haaretz those dead in the facility were "terrorists", and the deaths were now under investigation. 

Those detained are kept in fenced compounds with their eyes covered and hands cuffed for most of the day.

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Lights are switched on all night long in the prison compound and detainees sleep on thin mattresses on the floor, the report added. 

The detainees include some who were arrested during Hamas' surprise attack on southern Israel on 7 October, which killed around 1,200 people. Scores of others have been detained since Israel's ground operation in the enclave in late October. 

Women and children detained

Women and children have also been arrested by Israeli soldiers in Gaza, and are being held in a detention facility near Jerusalem, the report added. 

MEE reported last week that the Israeli army had arbitrarily detained dozens of women and girls from Gaza without disclosing their whereabouts or the charges they face.

According to a Haaretz report last week, only around 10 to 15 percent of Palestinians detained by Israel in Gaza in recent days are connected with Hamas. 

Palestinians from Gaza are being held under the "unlawful combatants law", which human rights activists and legal experts have long argued is a means used by Israel to detain civilians based on little evidence and without a fair trial. 

The law states that an Israeli court must review the incarceration order within 14 days and subsequently every six months.

The Israeli military told Haaretz those from Gaza detained were being held "due to probable cause that they were involved in terrorist activity". 

MEE obtained a list of full names, ages and professions of 25 people among those arrested by Israel earlier this month in the enclave.

That list, as well as eyewitness accounts, indicate that those detained are academics, journalists, teachers at UN-run schools, school students, blue-collar workers, and employees with the Palestinian Authority.

Israel's military has killed nearly 19,000 Palestinians in attacks since 7 October, most of them women and children. 

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