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U.N. Aid Agency Researchers Allege Abuse of Gazans in Israeli Detention

An unpublished investigation by the main United Nations agency for Palestinian affairs accuses Israel of abusing hundreds of Gazans captured during the war with Hamas, according to a copy of the report reviewed by The New York Times.

The report was compiled by UNRWA, the U.N. agency that is itself at the center of an investigation after accusations that at least 30 of its 13,000 employees participated in the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7. The authors of the report allege that the detainees, including at least 1,000 civilians later released without charge, were held at three military sites inside Israel.

The report said the detainees included males and females whose ages ranged from 6 to 82. Some, the report said, died in detention.

The document includes accounts from detainees who said they were beaten, stripped, robbed, blindfolded, sexually abused and denied access to lawyers and doctors, often for more than a month.

The draft document describes “a range of ill-treatment that Gazans of all ages, abilities and backgrounds have reported facing in makeshift detention facilities in Israel.” Such treatment, the report concluded, “was used to extract information or confessions, to intimidate and humiliate, and to punish.”

The report is based on interviews with more than 100 of the 1,002 detainees who were released back to Gaza by mid-February. The document estimates that 3,000 other Gazans remain in Israeli detention without access to lawyers. Its findings echo those of several Israeli and Palestinian rights groups, as well as separate investigations by two U.N. special rapporteurs, all of whom allege similar abuses inside Israeli detention centers.

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