Mass graves in Gaza: Victims’ hands were tied

The UN human rights office, OHCHR, expressed renewed concerns about possible war crimes in Gaza as disturbing reports continue to emerge about mass graves.

The UN human rights office, OHCHR, expressed renewed concerns about possible war crimes in Gaza as disturbing reports continue to emerge about mass graves. According to the reports, Palestinian victims were stripped naked with their hands tied.

The recovery of hundreds of bodies at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis and Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City further highlights the gravity of the situation. Out of the 283 bodies recovered at Nasser Hospital, only 42 have been identified. Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that among the deceased were older people, women, and wounded individuals. Some of the victims were found tied with their hands and stripped of their clothes.

According to the local health authorities in Gaza, Ms. Shamdasani stated that additional corpses were discovered at Al-Shifa Hospital. This health facility served as the primary tertiary establishment in the region before the outbreak of war on 7 October. It became the target of an Israeli military intervention aimed at eradicating alleged Hamas militants who were supposedly operating within the hospital. This operation concluded at the beginning of this month.

Following two weeks of intense clashes, UN humanitarians confirmed on 5 April that Al-Shifa had been reduced to “an empty shell,” with most of its equipment turned to ashes. Ms. Shamdasani informed journalists in Geneva that reports indicate the presence of 30 Palestinian bodies buried in two graves within the courtyard of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. One grave is located in front of the emergency building, while the other is situated in front of the dialysis building.

So far, the bodies of 12 Palestinians have been identified from these areas at Al-Shifa, as stated by the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). However, the remaining individuals have not yet been identified. Ms. Shamdasani also mentioned that there are reports suggesting that some of these bodies had their hands tied. She further added that there could potentially be numerous additional victims, despite the Israeli Defense Forces’ claim of having killed 200 Palestinians during the operation at the Al-Shifa medical complex.

200 days of horror

Some 200 days since intense Israeli bombardment began in response to Hamas-led terror attacks in southern Israel, UN human rights chief Volker Türk expressed his horror at the destruction of Nasser and Al-Shifa hospitals and the reported discovery of mass graves. 

“The intentional killing of civilians, detainees, and others who are hors de combat is a war crime,” Mr. Türk said, in a call for independent investigations into the deaths.

As of 22 April, more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 14,685 children and 9,670 women, the High Commissioner’s office said, citing the enclave’s health authorities. Another 77,084 have been injured, and over 7,000 others are assumed to be under the rubble. 

“Every 10 minutes a child is killed or wounded. They are protected under the laws of war, and yet they are ones who are disproportionately paying the ultimate price in this war,” said the High Commissioner.