Disturbing pictures emerge of ‘mass Hamas detention’

Israeli media says these men are Hamas fighters.

Israeli media says these men are Hamas fighters. Photo: Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor

Images have emerged from Gaza of a mass detention by Israeli forces of men, stripped to their underwear and kneeling on the streets, before they are packed into military vehicles.

Israeli TV showed footage, which Reuters could not independently verify, of what it said were captured Hamas fighters, who also wore blindfolds and had their heads bowed, sitting in a Gaza City street.

CNN reports that at least some of the men are civilians with no known affiliation to militant groups.

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Other images showed groups of men on the streets of Gaza. Photo: Twitter

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, which posted an image of one detainment, said in a statement on Thursday (local time) that “the Israeli army detained and severely abused dozens of Palestinian civilians.”

“Euro-Med Monitor received reports that Israeli forces launched random and arbitrary arrest campaigns against displaced people, including doctors, academics, journalists, and elderly men,” it said.

The Israel Defence Forces is yet to comment on the images.

The Israeli media said they were the mass surrender of Hamas members, although it has given no source for that.

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari was asked about the images on Thursday. He said that, in fighting Hamas, “those left in the area gradually come out”, according to CNN.

“We investigate and check who has ties to Hamas, and who does not,” he said. “We arrest them all and question them. We will continue dismantling each one of those strongholds until we are done.”

The latest disturbing development in the conflict in the Middle East came as Israel battled Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip’s biggest cities, leaving hundreds more Palestinians dead. Meanwhile, almost two million displaced Gazans are struggling to find safe refuge amid critical shortages of food and shelter.

Residents on Thursday reported fierce battles east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza’s largest city and Palestinian health officials said three Gazans were killed in an Israeli air strike on a house in Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza.

Israel said its forces killed gunmen in Khan Younis, including two who emerged firing from a tunnel.

Gazans have crammed into Rafah on the southern border with Egypt, heeding Israeli messages that they would be safe in the city after successive warnings to head south.

In Washington, a senior State Department official said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Israel’s strategic affairs minister on Thursday, and told him Israel needed to do more to protect civilians in its offensive in southern Gaza.

Israeli troops reached the heart of Khan Younis on Wednesday in a new phase of the war, now entering its third month. Health officials said three people were killed there on Thursday.

Ambulances and relatives rushed the wounded into the city’s Nasser hospital, but even the floor space inside was full. Two badly wounded children lay on a trolley and a bloodstained young boy lay screaming among the patients on the floor.

Those who escape violence face an increasingly desperate struggle to survive.

The United Natioms Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA) said 1.9 million people – 85 per cent of Gaza’s population – had been displaced and its shelters were four times over capacity.

The Gaza health ministry said 17,177 Palestinians had been killed and 46,000 wounded since October 7, when Israel began bombing Gaza in response to an assault by Hamas militants who control the enclave. In the past 24 hours alone, 350 people had been killed, ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said.

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The men are packed into military vehicles and then driven away. Photo: Twitter

Israel says it must wipe out Hamas and is doing everything possible to get civilians out of harm’s way.

Israel said it had raided a Hamas compound in Jabalia, killing several gunmen and found tunnels, a training area and weapons.

The armed wing of Hamas said fighters had destroyed or damaged 79 army vehicles in Gaza City in the past three days but did not produce evidence.

The surprise Hamas incursion on October 7 killed 1200 people, with 240 people taken hostage, according to Israel’s tally.

The Israeli military says 88 soldiers have been killed in ground incursions into Gaza that began on October 20.

The UN has been unable to distribute aid in any part of Gaza except for the area around Rafah for four days, it said in its daily humanitarian report on Thursday.

A senior Hamas official told Reuters mediators were still exploring opportunities for a truce and reiterated its demand that Israel cease its attacks but the White House said Israel and Hamas were not close to a deal on a humanitarian pause.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Thursday there were promising signs that the Kerem Shalom crossing in Israel could soon be opened to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

A guided-missile attack from Lebanon killed a 60-year-old farmer in northern Israel on Thursday, Hagari said, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Beirut would be turned “into Gaza” if Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, started an all-out war.

The White House said on Thursday that Israel and Hamas were not close to another deal on a new humanitarian pause and release of further Israeli hostages.

– with AAP

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