Washington Post Report: Gazan prisoners describe abuse at secretive Israeli detention sites

Jihad Hamouda, a 20-year-old Palestinian citizen of Gaza City, told the Washington Post about his suffering in an Israeli detention center.

He said that he spent 17 days blindfolded and handcuffed in an Israeli detention facility, and was forced to kneel on the ground for long hours, without knowing his whereabouts or when he would be released.

He added that Israeli soldiers stormed his family's home in Gaza City on December 8, and killed his 78-year-old grandfather, even though he was suffering from dementia. They also arrested his sister, uncles, grandmother and cousins.

At the beginning of his arrest, Hamouda spent a day and part of a day imprisoned in his neighbor’s house in Gaza, where Israeli soldiers stripped him of his outer clothing.

Do you belong to Hamas?

He recounted how the investigators beat him severely when he denied his connection to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), and that one of the soldiers held a knife in his hand and threatened to amputate his finger unless he admitted to possessing weapons.

The young man from Al-Ghazawi said: “I assured them that I am a university student and have no connection to any military organizations.” The next day (December 9), they took him to the border of the besieged Gaza Strip, to a place supposedly an Israeli military site.

Commenting on Hamouda’s story, the newspaper stated that it could not independently verify its authenticity, but said that it agreed with the testimonies of 6 other detainees who were recently released.

It stated in its report that the Israeli army arrested hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza and detained them without charge inside Israel under a secret legal framework.

In response to a question about the shooting of Jed Hamouda, the Israeli army told the Washington Post that it would consider questions of this kind at a later stage.

Former detainees told the American newspaper that investigators asked them during their interrogation: Where were you on October 7? In reference to the day Hamas launched its attack on Israel.

Starved and beaten

They added that the investigators also asked them whether they worked with Hamas, who other Palestinians were helping the movement, and about the locations of fighters and underground tunnels.

The newspaper quoted another Palestinian named Muhammad Abu Zour (24 years old) as saying that he was detained for 20 days inside Israel, where soldiers withheld food from him as punishment, adding that they always insisted on accusing him of belonging to the Hamas movement.

When he denied this, they kicked and beat him, forced him to sign a document written in Hebrew, which he did not understand, and then offered him money if he spy for Israel, but he refused.

Hamouda remembers that every detainee would return from the interrogation session either covered in blood or bearing signs of torture, or screaming and crying in pain. Other times - Hamouda continues - they send Gazans they accuse of being linked to Hamas to another detention facility.

On December 26, soldiers handed Hamouda his identity card, put him on a bus and returned him to the southern Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing.


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