A Gaza doctor has died in Israeli custody, Palestinian groups say

A Palestinian doctor from the Gaza Strip, detained by Israeli forces and held for four months, has died in detention, Palestinian officials and detainees' rights groups say.

Dr. Adnan Ahmad Albursh, 50, head of the orthopedics department at Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical center in the Gaza Strip, was arrested along with other doctors in December by Israeli forces when they raided a hospital , according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Commission. Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoners Club, which defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Times of Israel quoted the military as confirming that the Israeli Prison Service had declared Dr. Albursh dead on April 19, without giving the cause of death. He said he had been arrested for national security reasons.

Israel has arrested thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, including women and children. Former detainees have said they suffered beatings and other physical abuse in Israeli custody, and the United Nations human rights office has said Israel's treatment of detainees could amount to torture, which Israel denies. International human rights groups say they have been denied access to detainees.

Dozens of Palestinians have died in Israeli custody since October 7, according to the Israeli military and human rights groups. The Israeli army said it was aware of the deaths of 27 Palestinians in its custody.

Prisoners' rights groups have accused Israel of abusing and killing Dr. Albursh, but have offered no evidence to support their claims, nor have they said how they knew about the circumstances of his imprisonment and death.

Dr Albursh was detained while at Al Awda Hospital, where he fled after leaving Al Shifa, they said.

“He was determined to continue to heal his countrymen,” said his nephew Khaled Albursh. “He could have left but he insisted on continuing to treat the wounded in hospitals and even in homes.”

Milena Ansari, assistant Palestine researcher for Human Rights Watch, said Dr. Albursh's death raised serious concerns about the treatment of Palestinian detainees and called for an independent investigation into the deaths of Palestinians in Israeli custody.

“This is not an isolated case,” he said, adding: “Those responsible for serious abuse should be prosecuted.”

The Israeli military said Hamas, the Palestinian political and armed group that took control of Gaza in 2007, had built a command center in the tunnels under Al-Shifa. Hamas and hospital administrators rejected that claim.

Gaza's healthcare system has been under constant attack since Israel began its devastating campaign of bombing and invading Gaza in response to the Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7. Nearly 500 health workers were killed, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The World Health Organization said that since October 7 it has documented 443 attacks on health facilities resulting in 723 deaths.

On Dr. Albursh's Facebook page, what appeared to be his last post appeared on Nov. 20: “We will die standing and not kneeling,” it said.

Rawan Sheikh Ahmad contributed to the reporting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *