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Gaza/West Bank: ICRC visits detainees after recent wave of arrests

11-08-2008 Operational Update

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has stepped up its visits to detainees held by the Palestinian authorities following recent arrests in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The arrests took place amid heightened tensions in the Gaza Strip after an explosion killed five Hamas members and a child in Gaza City on 25 July.

" Visiting these detainees as quickly as possible is a priority for us, " said Antoine Grand, who is in charge of ICRC operations in Gaza. Delegates have spoken in private with each detainee, registered them all, and notified their families of their whereabouts. The next step, Grand said, would be to follow up these critical initial visits with further ones. The aim of ICRC visits to detainees – long a key activity in Gaza and the West Bank – is to monitor conditions of detention and treatment and to ensure that the detainees are able to have contact with their families.

    

Over 180 people fled Gaza for the West Bank following the violence in July. Most were allowed to enter Israel. However, 34 were refused entry at the Erez crossing. Of these, 12 remained at the crossing, fearing for their lives. The ICRC in Gaza immediately responded by dispatching a team to register them and provide them with food and water. All 12 eventually crossed into Israel and on to the West Bank.

    

So far this year, the ICRC has regularly visited over 600 detainees in Palestinian detention, including some 200 held in Gaza.

  For further information, please contact:
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 217 32 08
  Helge Kvam, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 2 582 88 45 or +972 52 601 91 50
  Iyad Nasr, ICRC Gaza, tel: +972 8 28 28 874 or +972 59 60 30 15
  Yael Segev-Eytan, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: +972 3 524 52 86 or +972 52 275 75 17