640 Palestinian children detained in West Bank since October 7

The Israeli military has arrested hundreds of Palestinian children in the West Bank since the start of the war in Gaza [Getty/file photo]

At least 640 Palestinian children were detained by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the start of the war in Gaza, with many of them tortured and abused, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said on Monday.

Child detainees have been subject to “acts of abuse, torture, and medical crimes to which adult prisoners are also exposed to in Israeli prisons,” the group said as cited, by the Turkish Anadolu agency.

The total number includes those who have been released, and the Palestinian Prisoners Club said at least 250 minors remain in prison, and are subject to ill treatment.

On Sunday, Israeli authorities arrested a seven-year-old identified as Bahaa Kazem Haj Mohammed in the village of Al-Mughayyir, east of Ramallah, the group said, before releasing him hours later.

The child was arrested on the same day as Palestinians marked the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, which was marred by Israel’s ongoing bombardment in Gaza

The seven-year-old was arrested in the centre of Al-Mughayyir, which, like many towns and villages in the West Bank, has been targeted by frequent Israeli raids. 

He was reportedly beaten on his hands after the arrest, and the Israeli army “deliberately left him far away from his home” after he was released hours later, his family said in a statement via the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

He was with other children when he was arrested, and they were also detained, according to the statement.

Israel has also detained children from the devastated Gaza Strip as it carries out its indiscriminate attacks on the enclave, which has so far killed over 37,000 people. The ferocious military campaign has been described as a genocide by rights groups and NGOs.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club said that a number of children are currently detained in Israel’s notorious Megiddo jail, located north of the country.

Several prominent Palestinian figures, such as Marwan Barghouthi, have been detained and abused in the prison.

Amid the brutal military campaign in Gaza, which began on October 7, Israel has also been escalating its attacks in the West Bank.

At least 544 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, and over 9,000 people have been detained, with many held in “administrative detention” without charge or trial. 

The occupied territory had already been under increased attack after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in December 2022, as the head of Israel’s most far-right government in over 70 years, with children at risk of detention, harassment, and shooting.


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