ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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Images of arrested Gazans in underwear ‘uncomfortable,’ but they were detained for a reason — official

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Palestinian men surrender to troops in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, on December 10, 2023. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Palestinian men surrender to troops in northern Gaza's Jabaliya, on December 10, 2023. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A senior Israeli official acknowledges that the photos of hundreds of Palestinian men being stripped to their underwear after their arrest by the IDF in Gaza might be “uncomfortable.”

However, the official briefing The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity insists that the army is only stopping those against whom it has concrete suspicions and that the stripping was necessary in order to ensure that none of them are hiding weapons or explosives.

Tzachi Hanegbi, the head of the National Security Council, said earlier tonight, though that there will not be further photos circulating online of Gazans surrendering to IDF troops in their underwear.

“It doesn’t serve anything,” Hanegbi told the Kan public broadcaster.

An apparent Hamas member with his hands up turns in an assault rifle after surrendering to troops in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya, on December 9, 2023. (Social media: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A number of pictures and videos that have leaked online in recent days show dozens of semi-naked Palestinian men being arrested. In some pictures, the detainees are being forced to sit or kneel on the ground in the open, sometimes blindfolded, while others show groups being marched with their hands in restraints or alleged fighters handing over weapons.

The Israeli military has confirmed arresting hundreds, claiming that Hamas members are surrendering in high numbers, as the terror group collapses under the army’s campaign to crush it.

But the military has also indicated that many of those it detained were later released, and officials have said that soldiers may be operating under a guideline of arrest first and question later.

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