War in Gaza Controversy over images of half-naked Palestinians detained by Israel

A senior Hamas official on Friday accused Israeli forces of carrying out a "heinous crime against innocent civilians" after images of half-naked Palestinian men detained in Gaza circulated on social media

War in Gaza Controversy over images of half-naked Palestinians detained by Israel

A senior Hamas official on Friday accused Israeli forces of carrying out a "heinous crime against innocent civilians" after images of half-naked Palestinian men detained in Gaza circulated on social media.

Izzat El-Reshiq, exiled abroad, has urged international human rights organizations to intervene to show what happened to these men and help secure their release.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said it is concerned about the images and has recalled that all detainees must be treated with humanity and dignity in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, whose country supports Hamas, has also criticized Israel, accusing it in X of "barbarism in the treatment of captives and innocent citizens."

Israeli television on Thursday showed images, which Reuters has verified, of what it said were captured Hamas fighters. They were in their underwear and with their heads bowed, sitting on a street in Gaza City.

"We are talking about individuals being detained in Jabalia and Shejaiya (in Gaza City), strongholds and centers of gravity of Hamas," Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said at a briefing when asked about the images. . "We're talking about men of military age who were discovered in areas that civilians were supposed to have evacuated weeks ago."

The Israeli military has called on civilians to leave areas where it plans to operate in its military campaign to eliminate Hamas in Gaza following the Islamist militant group's Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.

One photograph showed more than 20 men kneeling on the sidewalk or street, with Israeli soldiers looking on and dozens of shoes and sandals abandoned in the street. A similar number of detainees, also half-naked, were crammed into the back of a nearby truck.

Some Palestinians said they recognized relatives in the images and denied they had links to Hamas or any other group. Some, they noted, were children or young people. Reshiq said the detainees had been captured at a school in Gaza that was being used as a shelter after weeks of Israeli bombing that has displaced many Gazans.

Hamas holds Israeli forces responsible for the lives and safety of the detained men, Reshiq added. "And we urge human rights organizations to immediately intervene to expose this heinous crime against innocent civilians who took refuge in a school, which had become a refuge due to Zionist aggression and massacres, and to exert pressure for all means to secure his release," he said.

The London-based Arabic news outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has said that one of those detained was its correspondent Diaa Kahlout. He has urged the international community and human rights groups to denounce the arrest of journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for his release.

Some Palestinians identified the location where the men were captured as the northeastern town of Beit Lahia, an area that Israel had warned civilians to leave and that has been surrounded and besieged by Israeli tanks for weeks. Reuters confirmed that the location was indeed Beit Lahia.

Hani Almadhoun, a Palestinian American based in Virginia, said he saw family members in one image, including his 12-year-old nephew, and that they had no ties to Hamas or other factions.

"We strongly emphasize the importance of treating all detainees with humanity and dignity, in accordance with international humanitarian law," Jessica Moussan, ICRC media relations adviser for the Middle East, says in a statement.

Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian Mission in London, said in X that the images evoked "some of the darkest passages in human history." Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi has noted, also in