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Four IDF soldiers held over alleged abuse of Palestinian detainee

Combat troops from religious ‘Netzah Yehuda’ battalion suspected of beating and sexually assaulting man they had arrested

One of five Netzah Yehuda soldiers convicted of beating two Palestinian detainees arrives for a court hearing at the Jaffa Military Court, on January 10, 2019. (Flash90)
Illustrative: One of five Netzah Yehuda soldiers convicted of beating two Palestinian detainees arrives for a court hearing at the Jaffa Military Court, on January 10, 2019. (Flash90)

Israeli Military Police arrested four soldiers from the religious Netzah Yehuda battalion suspected of beating and sexually assaulting a Palestinian suspect, according to a Wednesday report.

As the suspect was held by troops in the back of a military vehicle after his arrest in the West Bank, he was allegedly beaten en route to an army base, the Ynet news site reported.

At the military camp, the abuse continued, allegedly including one of the soldiers placing the barrel of his gun on the suspect’s backside, the report said.

The Palestinian man reported the abuse to a military doctor who examined him as part of the arrest procedure and found signs of violence on his body, leading to the investigation.

It was not immediately clear when the incident took place.

The servicemen were scheduled to be brought before a judge on Thursday in order to keep them in custody as the investigation into the incident continues.

Ten soldiers had been questioned over the alleged assault, but six were released.

The military did not publicly comment on the incident, and a military tribunal banned the publication of the suspects’ identities at this stage, citing the ongoing investigation.

Soldiers in the religious Netzah Yehuda Battalion of the Kfir Infantry Brigade, which operates in the West Bank, have been at the center of several controversies connected to right-wing extremism and violence against Palestinians.

Soldiers from the battalion have been convicted in the past of torturing and abusing Palestinian prisoners.

The battalion was created so that ultra-Orthodox and other religious soldiers can serve without feeling they are compromising their beliefs. The soldiers do not interact with female troops to the same extent as other servicemen and are given additional time for prayer and religious study.

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