Middle East

Gazan family seeks answers after doctor dies in Israeli custody

Dr. Iyad al-Rantisi died in Israeli custody 6 days after his detention

Hosni Nadim  | 23.06.2024 - Update : 23.06.2024
Gazan family seeks answers after doctor dies in Israeli custody

GAZA CITY, Palestine 

The family of a Palestinian doctor who died while being questioned by Israel’s domestic security service, the Shin Bet, has called for an investigation into his death.

Dr. Iyad al-Rantisi, 53, the head of a women's hospital in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, was detained by the Israeli army last November. He died six days after his detention.

Rantisi died at the Shikma prison, a Shin Bet interrogation facility in southern Israel's Ashkelon, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Shin Bet said they arrested the Palestinian doctor over suspicion of involvement in hiding hostages.

“My husband was detained on Nov. 10 at the Netzarim checkpoint, which separates Gaza’s north and south, which Israel claimed was a safe passage,” his wife Randa told Anadolu.

“On that day, we went to the checkpoint to migrate to southern Gaza upon orders from the Israeli army,” she said.

The Palestinian wife recalled that her husband joined the family immediately after his work at the hospital.

“He did not have the time to change and kept his hospital uniform,” she said.

As the family moved through the checkpoint, the doctor was stopped by Israeli soldiers and ordered to kneel down.

“Ever since, we heard nothing about my husband until the Israeli media announced his death,” the bereaved wife said.

No answer

The family tried tirelessly to seek any information about the whereabouts of the Gazan doctor.

“We tried to reach out to the International Committee of the Red Cross to get information about the doctor, but we received nothing and remained waiting for any information,” Randa said.

The Palestinian wife slammed the Israeli authorities for concealing any information about the circumstances of her husband’s death.

“Why Rantisi and other medical personnel were detained in the first place,” she asked. “What wrongdoing have they committed?”

Rantisi’s brother Suhail was also detained by Israeli forces.

“Our family has already lost Dr. Iyad. We now fear losing the other brother, who is enduring extremely harsh detention conditions,” his sister Hana told Anadolu.

She called on the Israeli authorities to hand over the body of her dead doctor.

“We have been trying to get any piece of information about him, but to no avail,” Hana said, calling for an immediate inquiry into the circumstances of her brother’s death.

She called on human rights groups and medical organizations, including the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders to urgently intervene to hold Israel accountable for the “crimes” it has committed.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.

Nearly 37,600 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and more than 86,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

More than eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

* Writing by Ikram Kouachi

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