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Palestinians recount ‘torture’ in Israeli army custody

Palestinians held by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip had suffered torture, two freed detainees and a medic said Sunday, a charged denied by the military. The two men were among hundreds detained by Israeli forces over alleged links with armed group Hamas during Israel’s ongoing ground offensive in the besieged Hamas-run territory. Israel vowed to defeat Hamas after a deadly attack by militants on October 7, launching a relentless military campaign in Gaza. About 20 men released from Israeli custody “have bruises and marks of blows on their bodies”, Marwan al-Hams, hospital director in the southern city of Rafah, told AFP. Hams said the freed Palestinians were admitted to Al-Najjar hospital upon their release. The Israeli army rejected the claims, saying detainees are “treated in accordance with international law”. “While detained, the suspects are given sufficient food and water and treated according to protocol,” the army told AFP in a statement. Nayef Ali, 22, said he was detained in Gaza City’s eastern Zaitun suburb and later taken to an Israeli detention facility, and showed cuts on his wrists and other parts of his body. “They (Israeli troops) tied our hands behind our backs for two days,” he said. “We were not allowed to eat or drink, neither were we allowed to use the toilet,” he added. “There were only beatings and beatings.” Ali said the detainees were put in an area along the border with Israel where it was “freezing cold”. “They threw cold water on us before transferring us to a prison, where it was again torture and beatings.” Khamis al-Bardini, 55, also alleged torture by Israeli soldiers, saying they poured “cold water on our heads through the night” along with “beatings during the day”. In recent weeks, the army has faced international criticism after viral footage of detainees stripped down to their underwear and blindfolded with their hands tied behind the backs. The army has said it was investigating the deaths of “terrorists in military detention centres” after Israeli media reported that several detainees had died in custody.

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