Israel still holding bodies of 17 dead Palestinian detainees, says prisoners group
Israeli authorities are still holding the bodies of 17 Palestinian detainees, the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) has said.
It said the body of Anis Dawla, detained in 1980, has been kept for the longest period - over 43 years. He died during a prison hunger strike that same year. The group said in a statement that the remaining 16 were held from 2018 onward, with some being detained after October 7.
"Israel is holding the bodies of six prisoners who died as a result of torture after October 7, including a citizen from the Gaza Strip whose identity is unknown," said the PPC, in reference to the start of Israel’s war on Gaza.
More than 19,600 people have died in Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of the enclave, most of them women and children.
"Israel is holding the bodies of Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip who were arrested during the ground invasion," said PPC spokesperson Amani Sarhana.
In comments made to Anadolu Agency, she said Israel was concealing the fate of detainees taken from Gaza, withholding information on how many prisoners it had or how many had died.
On Monday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed that a number of detainees taken from Gaza died in custody.
Haaretz said those detainees were being kept at the Sde Teman army camp in Beersheba in southern Israel. The circumstances surrounding their deaths were not clear, however prisoners have been stripped, blindfolded, and tortured by the Israeli military ever since the war began.
The number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails now exceeds 7,000, with thousands being detained in the West Bank after October 7.
A mediated truce in late November between Israel and Hamas in Gaza saw some prisoners released in exchange for Hamas-held hostages, but Israeli forces continued detaining Palestinians in the West Bank.
Israeli forces stepped up attacks in the West Bank after the Gaza war began, raiding towns and villages and carrying out mass arrests.
More than 300 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied territory since October 7 alone, adding to an already staggering figure since the start of this year.
Some of Israel’s closest allies – notably the US, UK, and France – have called on Israel to put a stop to extremist Israeli settler violence targeting Palestinians in the West Bank.