UN calls for investigation after discovery of mass graves in Gaza hospitals

(CNN) — The United Nations called for an “independent, effective and transparent investigation” into the discovery of mass graves at two Gaza hospitals that were besieged and raided by Israeli forces this year.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a statement that he was “horrified” by the reported scenes at the Nasser and Al Shifa medical complexes in the besieged area.

“Given the current climate of impunity, this should involve international investigators,” Turk said. Referring to non-combatants, he said, “Hospitals are entitled to very special protection under international humanitarian law. And the deliberate killing of civilians, detainees and other participants in hostilities is a war crime.”

Gaza civil defense workers this week discovered a mass grave with at least 324 bodies at the Nasser Medical Complex in the town of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the area.

Yaman Abu Suleiman, director of civil protection in Khan Yunis, said some of the bodies were found with their hands and feet tied, “and there were signs of hanging on the ground. We don’t know whether they were buried alive or were being hanged later.” ” “Most of the bodies have been decomposed.”

CNN cannot corroborate Suleiman’s claims or confirm the causes of death of those whose bodies are being exhumed.

Earlier, Raed Saqr, a spokesman for Khan Yunis Civil Defense and head of the search mission, told CNN that they were searching for the bodies of another 400 people missing since Israeli forces left on April 7.

A CNN contributor who visited the site on Sunday said people had buried the bodies of their relatives on the hospital grounds as a temporary measure in January. According to the journalist, when he returned this month after the withdrawal of Israeli forces, he found that bodies had been dug up and placed in at least one mass grave. It is currently unknown how many bodies were initially buried there.

In response to a question from CNN about mass graves at the Nasser Medical Complex, the Israeli military said Tuesday that “claims that the IDF buried Palestinian corpses are unfounded.”

People and health workers dig up bodies found on Tuesday at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza.  (Photo: AFP/Getty Images).

People and health workers dig up bodies found on Tuesday at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images).

“During the IDF operation in the Nasser Hospital area, bodies buried by Palestinians were examined in the Nasser Hospital area, as part of an effort to locate hostages and missing persons,” the Israeli military said. “In locations where intelligence indicated the possible presence of hostages.”

Once it was determined that the bodies were not those of Israeli hostages, “they were returned to their places,” he said.

Hamas-led militants kidnapped more than 250 people from Israel during their attack on the country on October 7. Currently 133 Israeli hostages are held captive, 35 of whom have died.

On Wednesday, CNN contacted the Israeli military for comment on Turk’s statements, to which they responded that they had nothing further to add to previous comments.

US says reports ‘incredibly worrying’

This month, Gaza health workers removed bodies from mass graves in and around another hospital, Al Shifa, after claims that Israeli forces killed hundreds of Palestinians during a two-week siege of the doctor’s compound and dismembered their bodies. Left to rot.

Gaza Civil Defense spokesman Mahmoud Bassal said at least 381 bodies had been recovered from around the compound since Israeli forces withdrew on April 1. He added that the total figure did not include those buried within the hospital compound. .

The US State Department expressed concern on Tuesday over the discovery of mass graves.

State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said the reports were “incredibly concerning.” “And we are investigating this with the Israeli government.”

He said, “I’m not going to talk about specific details, but you should not be surprised that we contact the Israeli government at all levels, often multiple times, multiple times a day, all the time.”

CNN’s Abeer Salman, Ibrahim Dahman, Karim Khaddar and Tim Lister contributed to this report.

(tagstotranslate)Hamas attacks Israel

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button