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Palestinian women allege abuses by Israeli security service

Nine Palestinian women have complained to Israel’s Justice Ministry that they were abused by the Shin Bet, the Israeli security service, while being interrogated, the Haaretz newspaper has reported.

The complaints, submitted Monday through a Israeli human rights group, the Public Committee Against Torture, allege incidents over the last three years in which the women were strip-searched in front of several men, handcuffed and threatened, usually so they would give up information about their husbands. Some said they were not allowed to cover their heads and that interrogators threatened to arrest relatives.

Journalist Isra Salhab said the Shin Bet called her in last November to meet with her husband. who was being questioned.

"They had nothing to ask me. They used me to put pressure on my husband," Salhab told Haaretz. "At a certain point they brought me to see my husband and told him I had children and he should think hard about what he was doing. During the questioning, the interrogator sat close to me and shouted at me not to move," she said.

Salhab's husband, Shadi Zahda, is on trial for his involvement with Hamas, the political party that runs the Gaza Strip.

These arrests were common until 2007, until the Israeli High Court ruled that innocent family members could not be arrested.

The Shin Bet denied the complaints.

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