Mass graves discovered in two Gaza hospitals, UN calls for investigation

The United Nations human rights office on Tuesday called for an independent investigation into two mass graves discovered after Israeli forces withdrew from a hospital in the Gaza Strip. Some of them were discovered days ago, and Israeli and Palestinian authorities have given different explanations.

Palestinian civil defense forces discovered a mass grave containing 283 bodies on the grounds of Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Yunis over the weekend, two weeks after a similar mass grave was discovered at Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital. announced.

Mahmoud Bassal, a spokesman for Palestinian Civil Defense, an emergency services organization, said some of the bodies found in Khan Yunis were handcuffed, shot in the head or wearing detainee uniforms. He said he did. He accused Israeli forces of killing and burying them. The Israeli military declined to address these claims on Tuesday and could not independently verify them.

On Tuesday, hours after a senior UN human rights official called for an investigation into the mass graves, the Israeli military announced it had exhumed bodies buried by Palestinians in the Nasser hospital “area” and examined them as part of the investigation. Efforts are being made to search for the hostages. It did not comment on reports of mass graves in al-Shifa.

The Israeli military did not say how many bodies soldiers exhumed and reburied, how they died or whether hostage remains were found at the scene. Nor did it say how the bodies were examined to determine whether they belonged to Israeli hostages.

The statement said, “The examination was conducted respectfully and while preserving the dignity of the deceased.” “The bodies examined did not belong to Israeli hostages, but they were returned to their original locations.”

It is not clear where the people found in the mass grave were originally buried. However, wartime chaos in Gaza made it common for Palestinians to bury their dead in mass graves, courtyards, and backyards in a hurry that would be unthinkable during peacetime.

In January, Nasser Hospital officials told journalists that hospital workers buried about 150 people in the hospital’s garden because fighting nearby made it unsafe to go to the cemetery.

The discovery of a mass grave at Nasser Hospital came two weeks later. mass grave It was reportedly discovered after an Israeli military operation at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The United Nations Human Rights Office said Tuesday that the Gaza government has reported that 30 more bodies have been found in two graves in the Gaza Strip, and 12 of them have been identified. The agency said it could not confirm the account.

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