Social Media Posts Show Off Blindfolded and Bound Palestinian Detainees 

Bellingcat has uncovered images and videos showing men blindfolded and bound, draped in the Israeli flag and in one case the flag bearing the logo of Hasidic Jewish movement Chabad-Lubavitch. In another case, a soldier appears to throw US money at a detainee.

The images uncovered violate the obligations of detaining powers to ensure those detained are treated humanely and are likely unlawful under international humanitarian law, Queen’s University Belfast Law Professor Luke Moffett told Bellingcat.

The Israeli military says several cases involving soldiers’ treatment of detainees have been placed under review, following an investigation into their social media posts.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) top lawyer, Military Advocate General Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi,  issued a warning on February 21 to commanders about the mistreatment of detainees, looting, and destruction of infrastructure.

All of the images discussed below were posted by IDF soldiers on social media accounts, mostly TikTok but also Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

By using simple phrases in Hebrew including “Gaza” (עזה) and “Khan Younis” (ח’אן יונס) we were able to scan the results for accounts that were regularly posting images of members of the IDF or identified themselves as affiliated with the IDF. We also examined the social media friend and follower lists of the accounts we identified, allowing us to identify additional accounts of IDF members posting from the field. We then tracked these accounts over time, leading to the discovery of more material. 

“The IDF acts to address exceptional incidents that deviate from the orders and expected values of IDF soldiers,” an IDF spokesperson said, in a statement to Bellingcat, after being presented with the images and videos referenced in this story. 

“The IDF examines events of this kind as well as reports of videos uploaded to social networks and handles them with command and disciplinary measures.”

The IDF said cases mentioned in this story that were not known to relevant officials have been transferred for review by the officers’ commanders. It said that other cases mentioned in this story, which were already known to relevant officials, have been checked and resulted in disciplinary or command measures. The IDF did not specify which cases in this story it was aware of and which it was not aware of.

The spokesperson added that “in cases where suspicion of a criminal offence arises that justifies opening an investigation,” the IDF Military Police would open a probe, the conclusions of which would then be sent to the Military Advocate General for review.

Bellingcat was unable to independently verify the identity of the men, or to establish whether they were civilians or combatants.

“He Won’t Sleep Well…”

Several IDF soldiers and brigades have posted inflammatory images of bound and blindfolded men.

Earlier this month, the IDF told the BBC that it would take action on soldiers uploading images of Palestinians stripped, blindfolded or bound.

In multiple cases Bellingcat documented IDF soldiers draping detainees in Israeli flags and posing with detainees.  We found one such case on the “Hamas Hunting Club” Instagram page which appears to have been created in November 2023 with Israeli-Americans serving in the IDF posting to it.

Instagram profile of “Hamas Hunting Club.” 

The page includes images and videos of its members operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip. 

Posts show IDF soldiers with Palestinian detainees, and soldiers proudly display a bespoke “Hamas Hunting Club” patch.

The earliest appearance of these badges online found by Bellingcat came from November 2023. A badge of this exact design was sold online by Botach, a tactical supply store in the US.

A soldier shows off a “Hamas Hunting Club” patch in an Instagram highlight, posted on 26 January.  You can see the soldier’s rank is Major, based on the badge above.

One image still from a video, posted on December 18, 2023, shows a soldier posing and flashing a ‘V for Victory’ sign with his right arm while his left arm holds a blindfolded detainee, whose arms are restrained behind his back. 

An image from a December 2023 post on the Hamas Hunting Club Instagram account (faces obscured in original). This image was deleted prior to publication.

Another still video, posted on January 4, 2024, shows images of soldiers showing off “Hamas Hunting Club” badges while posing in front of blindfolded detainees. A clip of the heavy metal song “Down with the Sickness” by metal band Disturbed plays over the images.

An image in another post, made on January 19, 2024, shows more detainees in blindfolds with restraints on their hands and feet, while a soldier not visible in the photo holds up a “Hamas Hunting Club” badge in front of the camera. The image is tagged to Gaza City.

A January 2024 post on the Hamas Hunting Club Instagram account.

Another image, shared via Instagram stories on 11 January, 2024 by Hamas Hunting Club from an unidentified account, shows a detainee blindfolded and with his hands tied behind a white plastic chair. A label reading “He won’t sleep well…” has been added to the image.

Screen capture of an Instagram story posted by Hamas Hunting Club, the image was shared from another IDF account and was removed prior to publication.

The Hamas Hunting Club page isn’t limited to showcasing Palestinian detainees, either. The account posted a video on December 11 of an Israeli soldier writing “send nudes” on an artillery shell in Gaza. The account set this video to the Drake song “Way 2 Sexy.”

A December 2023 post on the Hamas Hunting Club’s Instagram (face obscured by Bellingcat).

Following the Followers

By looking at the followers of Hamas Hunting Club’s Instagram account, we identified the accounts of multiple Israeli-American soldiers who have also posted content from Gaza on their own social media, including images featuring more questionable treatment of detainees.

One soldier found this way identifies as a reservist from battalion 9213 of the 900th Infantry Brigade “Kfir”, which operates mainly in the West Bank city of Nablus. He describes himself as an American documenting his journey in the IDF on his Instagram bio.

Instagram profile of an IDF reservist.

In  a video posted to his account on 21 October, a group of Israeli soldiers are seen posing amid a group of detainees draped in Israeli flags. “They love Israel, they love Israel, that’s why they have the flag on them,” proclaims a soldier filming the video from behind the camera.

A screenshot from the video posted by the IDF reservist showing detainees draped in Israeli flags.

A second video contains a still image of a detainee, whose feet and wrists appear to be bound, draped in an Israeli flag.

An image posted on an IDF reservist’s Instagram account shows a detainee draped in the Israeli flag.

He posted several additional videos showing detainees in various states of custody, most blindfolded and with their extremities bound. In one of the videos he posted, he can be heard behind the camera addressing two detainees in a dark room. One has the Israeli flag tied to him and the soldier taunts them by tossing US money at them. A sticker of a praying Israeli soldier wearing tefillin has been added to the video.

In another video posted by the same account, a male detainee is shown along with a text overlap that claims he was the head of the village of Nilin in Ramallah. The text overlay alleges the detainee instructed his people to fly the flag of Hamas — in the video, he is bound, blindfolded and draped in a flag bearing the logo of Chabad-Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish movement.

Screenshot of film showing a detainee draped in a flag bearing the logo of Chabad-Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish movement. The video can be viewed here.

Despite this account being brought to the attention of the IDF, this soldier appears to have since been transferred from the West Bank to serve in the city of Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza strip. None of the videos posted have been removed from this account. 

In two videos posted on February 19 he states that “I established a new company, and “it’s called the IDF Construction company”” showing the widespread destruction of the city. In another video from February 26 in Khan Younis the same soldier is seen holding a mannequin saying that he found his wife in Gaza.

Another video, posted to Youtube on February 4, 2024 by an account that identifies as with the 7035th Infantry Battalion, appears to show operations in the West Bank nearby the Jalazoun Refugee Camp. In addition to the war in Gaza, Israeli security forces have carried out several raids in the West Bank since October 7.

A clip from this video also shows a dozen blindfolded and bound men in a containment area.

A screenshot from the YouTube video showing blindfolded and bound men in a containment area, the original video can be viewed here.

‘Fatties Having Fun’

One YouTube channel that has posted footage from Gaza bears the name שמנמנים ונהנים, or “fatties having fun” in Hebrew. The account has uploaded several videos showing Israeli soldiers’ interactions with detainees.

In one clip from a longer video, a group of men are ordered to put their hands against a wall with their backs facing armed soldiers. A video edit then cuts to the men disrobed to their underwear. The IDF has previously said it strips detainees to check if they are wearing explosives.

A still from the YouTube post showing disrobed detainees. The video can be viewed here. The Hebrew language text translates as ‘I was supposed to be in India but you can do such things in Gaza too’

Separately, an Israeli soldier, who identifies himself as a member of the Nahal Brigade, posted a series of photos to his Instagram account on 18 February, along with a caption about his life being changed after he was shot in the stomach and hospitalised. In addition to images of himself in hospital, he posted images of someone posing with a dead body and an image of a group of detainees bound and blindfolded on the floor of a room with all but their underwear removed. 


A six-minute video posted on YouTube on February 12 by an account that appears to be affiliated with the Ultra-Orthodox reserve battalion Netzah Yisrael shows soldiers posing and smiling with blindfolded and bound detainees.

In another image, a soldier is photographed holding balloons and smiling while standing in front of a blindfolded, bound detainee.

These images are edited with clips of the unit’s members celebrating alongside Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, a notorious extremist who has advocated for “state-sanctioned revenge” against Arabs that would include hanging terrorists’ children. Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of the city of Safed, is also known for issuing a “Psak Halacha” (a decision in Jewish religious law), prohibiting the sale of homes to Arabs. In May 2022, the United States revoked a visa he had held there for several years, though did not share their justification.

Accountability Pending 

This collection of images and videos showing both soldiers of the IDF engaging in acts that may amount to degrading treatment of detainees raises serious concerns regarding the IDF’s conduct. 

“These images being shared on social media are deeply disturbing and likely unlawful under international humanitarian law, potentially a war crime,” Professor in the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast Luke Moffett told Bellingcat. 

“The sharing of photos and videos of detainees on social media violates the obligation of a detaining power to ensure that those detained are humanely treated under the Geneva Conventions, including them being protected from ‘insults and public curiosity’, with particular obligations to women and children. Ultimately these individuals who are detained are in a position of vulnerability, and their ill-treatment is prohibited under the law as it goes against basic principles of humanity and human dignity.”

While the IDF noted that some soldiers had been disciplined as a result of some of these posts in a request for comment, it was not transparent about what these measures amounted to.

The Hamas Hunting Club is still up and continues to post. Its profile also advertises a ‘Hezbollah Hunting Club’ which it promises is ‘launching soon’.

Correction: This post was corrected on March 6 to clarify that posts on the Hamas Hunting Club Instagram page appear to have been made by Israeli-American soldiers serving in the IDF not US soldiers serving in the IDF.

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