Beaten, Stripped, Used as Human Shield: Gaza Victim Recalls “Israel” Terror

Maram Humaid, Al-Jazeera

Blood all over his face, and his eyes swollen, Ramadan Shamlakh arrived at a hospital after passersby found him struggling to walk southwards from northern Gaza.

The 21-year-old man said he had endured beatings, a stripping and a war crime – he was used as a human shield – by “Israeli “soldiers when they raided his family home in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City on Tuesday morning.

His story, and his desperate escape on foot to the south, came as the “Israeli” army renewed its ground military operations in the neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, prompting residents to flee again towards al-Shifa Hospital to the city’s west.

Shamlakh was at home with his mother, his injured brother, and his four sisters, when they were all surprised by tanks advancing and surrounding them in the area.

💬 “It was around 6:30 a.m. when the ‘Israeli’ soldiers blew up a wall in our house and then opened fire randomly at us.” “The soldiers brutally attacked me and my brother, who has been suffering from a foot injury since the 2014 war, and beat us extensively,” Shamlakh said. “We [told] them that we were civilians, and it was not our fault, but to no avail,” Shamlakh told Al Jazeera, while receiving treatment at Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Hospital in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

He said the soldiers insulted his mother and sisters with “obscene words” and “forced them to take off their hijabs”. When an angry Shamlakh told his sisters and mother not to listen to the soldiers, he was thrashed.

💬 “Then the soldiers detained my mother, my sisters and my wounded brother and took them to a direction I do not know. Then they took me, handcuffed me, and forced me to walk in front of them on the stairs to search the upper floors.”

What followed, according to Shamlakh’s account, was a war crime under Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions [Article 11 — Protection of persons]. The soldiers used him as a “human shield” as they entered apartments on the five upper floors.

💬 “I was opening the doors for them, and they were shooting hard. “When we reached the last floor, the soldiers beat me like crazy with their heavy shoes on my face, stomach and eyes,” he said. “There were about 15 soldiers, and they all took turns hitting me with shoes.”

He screamed and warned them that he could lose his sight – but they kept kicking and stomping on him. The soldiers interrogated Shamlakh about Hamas tunnels, his whereabouts on October 7 and whether he had participated in that day’s attacks.

💬 “I repeatedly asserted my civilian status and dissociation from Hamas, but they were not convinced and kept beating me.”

One soldier, Shamlakh, recalled,

💬 "He was kicking my head whenever I raised it. Another one grabbed a knife and started cutting my fingers while I was screaming.”

After a period of torture and interrogation, the soldiers ordered Shamlakh to take off his clothes, remain in his underwear, and head south. “I was walking with great difficulty, my body bleeding and my face coated in blood. The cold chilled me to the bone, and I shivered uncontrollably.

💬 “After a short while of walking, I saw tanks on the road, so I raised my hands in surrender. One of the tanks pointed its cannon at me. An ‘Israeli’ patrol stopped me, interrogated me for a while, then released me.”

Shamlakh continued walking for about two and a half hours until he eventually reached an “Israeli” checkpoint.

💬 “At the checkpoint, ‘Israeli’ soldiers stopped me there and asked me who I was. They questioned me about my injuries,” Shamlakh recalled. “Despite explaining that they were inflicted by the army, they doubted my account.”

The soldiers detained Shamlakh for nearly an hour, standing in the cold with blood streaming from his face, before allowing him to pass.

💬 “There were corpses of dead dogs around me, and many flies were gathering on them. The flies were coming on my face and on my wounds.”

A short distance from where Shamlakh crossed the checkpoint, he met some passersby who rushed to help him, gave him some clothes, and then called for an ambulance to take him to Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Hospital.

💬 “Passersby helped me reach here.” He said. “Until now, I have been anxious about attempting to reach out to my family in eastern Gaza."


Source: Alahed News. IMG: © N/A. AWIP:


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