Israeli forces burn down detained Al-Araby reporter's home, whereabouts remain unknown

Israeli forces burn down detained Al-Araby reporter's home, whereabouts remain unknown
The family of Al-Araby Al-Jadeed correspondent Diaa Al-Kahlout said that his home was burned down by Israeli forces in northern Gaza's Beit Lahia, following a mass arrest of male civilians in the area.
3 min read
08 December, 2023
Diaa Al-Kahlout, a reporter with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed since 2014, was detained by Israeli forces during a mass arrest of men on Thursday [credit: Al-Araby Al-Jadeed]

The home of detained Al-Araby Al-Jadeed correspondent Diaa Al-Kahlout has been set on fire by Israeli forces, his family revealed to The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site.

The burning of his home in Beit Lahia, in Gaza's north, came after Al-Kahlout, his brothers and scores of male civilians were rounded up by Israeli forces from a UN shelter school on Thursday, stripped of their clothing and abducted.

The men, forced to remain only in their underwear, were blindfolded and had their hands tied behind their backs in the street.

Israeli forces also burned down apartments belonging to two of his brothers in Gaza, his family said.

Al-Kahlout's wife, children and other female members of his family were expelled from their home to the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza.

The women and children from his family remain alive and safe, but in "bad conditions" at the hospital, they told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

His family also said that several other houses in Beit Lahia were burned down by Israeli forces.

Al-Kahlout, who has been a correspondent with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed since 2014, is still in detention and his whereabouts are unknown, his family confirmed.

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No images or videos have emerged since the mass arrests on Thursday that could be indicative of his condition or possible location, they stressed. However, his family suspects that Al-Kahlout could be taken to the Batar Zikim military base in Israel, located eight kilometres south of Ashkelon.

It is uncertain whether Al-Kahlout was deliberately targeted by Israeli forces for being a journalist, though Tel Aviv has deliberately detained and killed journalists in Gaza since October 7. Over 60 have been killed so far, with scores more missing and arrested.

Israeli media claimed that the detained men were "Hamas fighters surrendering" to the Israeli army, however, a significant number of men were later identified as civilians.

Kahlout, a father of five, had remained in northern Gaza despite fierce Israeli shelling, as his daughter is disabled and his mother is elderly. Evacuating to the territory's south would have proven too dangerous for them, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed stressed.

Following his detention, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed strongly condemned "the humiliating arrest of colleague Diaa Al-Kahlout and other civilians and urges the international community, journalists' rights defenders and watchdogs, and human rights bodies to denounce this ongoing assault committed by the Israeli occupation army against journalists since the 7th of October and exert efforts to ensure they are released from detention and protected".

Israel has unleashed its most ferocious military campaign in over 70 years on the Gaza Strip, killing 17,487 Palestinians as of Friday. Israel has been accused by rights groups and several nations of carrying out war crimes due to the high civilian death, targeting of media professionals and striking hospitals, schools and places of worship.