Gaza journalist ‘beaten’ by IDF

By Ben Lynfield, July 4, 2008
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A Palestinian journalist returning from a visit to the UK to receive an award has been hospitalised with fractured ribs and breathing difficulties following  what he claimed was abuse by Israeli security officials.

Mohammed Omer, 24, told the JC by phone from his bed in Gaza’s European Hospital that on June 26 at the Allenby Bridge Crossing into the West Bank he was strip-searched, questioned in an abusive manner and physically harmed, including being shaken and dragged across the floor.

“One of them I could feel putting his shoes on my neck. Another one put all his weight on and was shaking my chest,” Mr Omer said. Before the alleged physical abuse, a security officer forced him to remove his underwear, Mr Omer said.

“He put his hand on his revolver and said ‘take it off’.

“Then he grabbed my underwear, making me completely naked.”

At one point, said Mr Omer:  “I collapsed and fell on the ground, vomiting, and went unconscious on and off.”

Mr Omer runs the Rafah Today website and has written for the New Statesman. He received the Martha Gellhorn Journalism prize in London on June 16.

Israeli foreign-ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said the incident was being investigated. “We don’t really know what happened there. We only have one side of the story.”

    Last updated: 8:45am, July 4 2008