Al Jazeera journalist freed after 12-hour arrest by Israeli forces in Gaza | Israel's War on Gaza News

Al Jazeera Arab reporter Ismail al-Khol has been released after being detained for 12 hours and severely beaten by Israeli forces at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Al-Gol arrived early Monday with his team and other journalists to conduct the Israeli army's fourth raid on the hospital, where thousands of civilians, including medical workers, patients and displaced families, are trapped.

Witnesses said Israeli forces dragged the Al Jazeera reporter away and destroyed the news crew's broadcast vehicles at the medical facility. He was released after spending 12 hours in Israeli custody.

Al-Gol told Al-Jazeera after his release that Israeli forces destroyed media equipment and arrested journalists gathered in a room used by media groups. He said the journalists were blindfolded and handcuffed and forced to strip and lie on their stomachs.

If there was any movement, Israeli soldiers would open fire to scare them away, al-Khol said. He added that he had heard that some of his colleagues had also been released, but he did not have enough information about their whereabouts.

Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip has been a hub for journalists covering Israel's more than five-month war in the Palestinian territories.

Al-Jazeera's Hani Mahmoud, reporting from Rafah, said al-Gol was “tortured, beaten and detained on the ground with his group members by the Israeli army”.

Mahmoud, citing witnesses, said many Palestinians were beaten and verbally abused, with some blindfolded and their hands tied behind their backs. They were then put into an Israeli army truck and taken to an unknown location, he said.

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Gaza's health ministry said Israeli forces fired missiles and fired at one of the hospital's buildings, killing and wounding Palestinians and bulldozing part of the hospital's courtyard.

According to Mahmoud, Israeli forces have arrested more than 80 Palestinians, including “female medical workers and” [other] Journalists”.

“The Israeli military has prepared a list of allegations that they are looking for people to justify what is happening inside al-Shifa, but has not yet provided substantial evidence,” Mahmoud said.

Israel has repeatedly said that Hamas, the Palestinian armed group that rules the besieged Gaza Strip, has “reintegrated” into al-Shifa and is “using it to command attacks against Israel”.

Mansour Shouman, a citizen journalist who reported from al-Shifa and Nasser hospitals in southern Gaza, described the hospitals in the enclave as “small towns” where journalists try to “give news to the world”.

Shoman told Al Jazeera that hospitals are one of the few areas that have generators, which are essential for providing internet service.

A series of 'systematic attacks'

Earlier on Monday, the Al Jazeera media network demanded the immediate release of al-Khol and other journalists detained with him, it said in a statement.

The Qatar-based network held the Israeli army “fully responsible for their security”.

“The network asserts that this targeting serves as an intimidation tactic against journalists to prevent journalists from reporting on the heinous crimes committed by the occupation forces against innocent civilians in Gaza,” the statement said.

Al-Khaul's “targeting” was part of a series of “systematic attacks on Al Jazeera” that included the murders and bombing of senior Al Jazeera journalists Shireen Abu Aghle, Samar Abu Daqa and Hamza Tahtuh. Office in Gaza.

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The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Press Institute (IPI) also condemned al-Ghol's arrest.

“Journalists play an important role in a war. They're the eyes and ears we need to document what's going on, and every journalist killed, every journalist arrested, our ability to understand what's going on in Gaza is significantly diminished,” Jody Ginsberg, CPJ's chief executive officer, told Al. Jazeera.

“This is the worst conflict against journalists the Committee to Protect Journalists has ever documented, and the situation is only getting worse.”

Scott Griffen, IPI's deputy director, said the organization was “deeply concerned” by al-Khal's arrest and called for his “immediate release.”

Al-Qol's detention reveals the dangers “all journalists” face in Gaza, with Israel killing them “with little to no accountability” during the war.

“This not only threatens the lives of journalists trying to tell the story, but also prevents audiences around the world from accessing the truth,” Griffen said.

As of Monday, at least 95 journalists and media workers — most of them Palestinians — have been killed since the fighting began on October 7, CPJ reported.

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