Saturday, May 25, 2024

Palestinians retrieve hundreds of bodies from 3 mass graves in Gaza’s Khan Younis

Palestinians have uncovered nearly 400 bodies in three mass graves at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, the civil defense agency announced on Thursday.

“Civil defense teams have dug up 392 bodies from the mass graves,” the agency said during a press conference in the southern city of Rafah.

Bodies of children were found among the victims.

“We don’t know the reason for the presence of children’s bodies in mass graves at the hospital,” the agency added.

According to the agency, signs of torture were found on the bodies of the victims.

“There are indications of carrying out field executions against some of the victims, while the bodies of other victims carried signs of torture and others were buried alive,” it said.

“Several victims were buried in plastic bags and placed at a depth of three meters, which accelerated their decomposition,” it added.

The bodies were discovered after the Israeli army withdrew from Khan Younis on April 7 following a 4-month ground offensive in the city.

Israel has waged a brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7 last year, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

More than 34,300 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and 77,300 others injured, according to local health authorities.

More than six months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has also joined numerous rights groups and nations in calling for an independent investigation into the discovery of dozens of mass graves in Gaza.

It said its team members on the ground had witnessed the exhumation of hundreds of bodies found in the vicinity of Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital and saw victims “handcuffed … who were executed”.

In a statement, Euro-Med announced the high number of bodies that have been recovered is “alarming, and requires urgent international action, including the formation of an independent international investigation committee”.

Many of those who lost their lives were subjected to “premeditated murder as well as arbitrary and extrajudicial executions while they were detained and handcuffed”, it added.

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