Scores of Palestinian men have been detained by the Israeli military, stripped to their underwear, lined up and then taken away in army trucks.
Images released from Gaza showed more than 100 men, sitting on the ground in a street, said to be in the neighbourhood of Beit Lahia, in the north. Another photograph shows a large group of men similarly stripped, and with their hands bound behind their back in a semi-desert area. Many are blindfolded. In other footage, men were being paraded around a central square in Gaza City.
Images published by Israeli media showed the Israeli military rounding up men who allegedly surrendered in the Jabaliya refugee camp and other areas in the north of Gaza. However, one of the men in the pictures was identified by colleagues as Diaa Al-Kahlout, a journalist for an international Arabic online newspaper.
The Independent contacted the Israeli military for a response and has yet to receive a reply. Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy told the BBC that the men had been detained in Jabaliya and Shejaiya in northern Gaza, which he described as "Hamas strongholds and centres of gravity".
"We're talking about military age men who were discovered in areas that civilians were supposed to have evacuated weeks ago," he said.
Israeli forces regularly strip those they detain to ensure concealed weapons. Some have suggested that the images may have been released to show the extent of Israeli ground operations in Gaza during its war on Hamas.
Israel says it must wipe out Hamas after an attack inside Israel two months ago that killed 1,200 people and saw 240 people taken hostage. In response, Israel launched an aerial bombardment of the territory, in conjunction with ground assaults and a blockade that has seen fuel, food, water and medical supplies run low. Having focused on northern Gaza initially, both the aerial bombardment and ground operations have moved southwards in recent days.
According to health officials in Hamas-run Gaza, more than 17,170 Palestinians have been killed and 46,000 wounded since the Israeli military operations began in the wake of the Hamas attack on 7 October. The Israeli military on Friday said 92 of its soldiers had been killed in Gaza fighting since its ground incursions began on 20 October.
On Thursday, the US issued some of its strongest criticism of Israel’s conduct in the war against Hamas. The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said there was a gap between the Israeli government’s declared intentions to protect civilians and the mounting casualties seen on the ground.
“As we stand here almost a week into this campaign into the south … it remains imperative that Israel put a premium on civilian protection,” Mr Blinken said at a press conference after a meeting with the British foreign secretary, David Cameron, in Washington.
“And there does remain a gap between... the intent to protect civilians and the actual results that we’re seeing on the ground,” Mr Blinken said.
Arab states have renewed their push for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, with United Arab Emirates asking the UN Security Council to vote on a draft resolution on Friday.
The United States and ally Israel oppose a ceasefire, saying it would only benefit Hamas. Mr Blinken is due to meet top diplomats from Arab states, including Egypt around the same time.
The draft was amended to say both "the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law" and to "demand the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages."
A resolution needs at least nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the five permanent members – the US, Russia, China, France or Britain – to be adopted. The U.S. does not support any further action by the council at this time.