Gazans report discovery of mass graves after Israeli forces pull back
Palestinians sit amid the rubble in Khan Younis, Gaza. | AP

Palestinian civil defense workers have unearthed nearly 300 bodies believed to have been buried by Israeli forces in a mass grave inside the complex of Khan Younis’ Nasser Medical Complex. Rescue workers said they believe as many as 100 or more bodies could still remain to be recovered, Middle East Eye reported.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from Khan Younis on April 7. While they occupied the city, they stormed the Nasser Medical Complex in February, arresting several doctors, damaging the structure with shelling, and rendering it unable to function as a hospital.

U.N. rights chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday he was “horrified” by the destruction and the reports of mass graves containing hundreds of bodies.

Al Jazeera reporter Hani Mahmoud said the bodies found in the Nasser grave included children, young men, and older women. Rescuers said that some of the bodies they found had been buried with their hands tied behind their backs, according to Middle East Eye.

“Our teams continue their search and retrieval operations for the remaining martyrs in the coming days as there are still a significant number of them,” Palestinian emergency services said in a statement shared with Al Jazeera.

The news came as the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Saturday to send another $26 billion to Israel, including for military aid.

“These mass graves are obvious evidence of genocide and the most unthinkable war crimes,” the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights said on social media. “And yet, the House just signed off on $26 billion in weapons to fuel the genocidal Israeli military, while Israel threatens a full-scale ground invasion to massacre Palestinians in Rafah.”

This is not the first mass grave that has been discovered near a Gaza Strip hospital since Israel began its devastating bombardment and invasion following Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel.

When the IDF withdrew from the al-Shifa hospital earlier this month, Palestinian journalist Hossam Shabat reported seeing hundreds of dead bodies outside the hospital, many had had their hands and legs bound and their bodies run over by bulldozers. Al Jazeera reported that several mass graves were found near al-Shifa.

Muhammad Shehada, the communications chief for Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, expressed shock that there was not more media coverage of the Nasser grave.

“I CANNOT find a single headline in any mainstream media about this!” Shehada wrote on social media. “Imagine it was Ukraine? or Israel?”

The Israeli military called the claims of mass graves “baseless and unfounded.” It said the bodies were previously buried by Palestinians and that the IDF had “examined” them while searching for Israeli hostages and then reburied them.

Over the weekend, the Gaza Health Ministry reported that the death toll from Israel’s war on Gaza surpassed 34,000, though this is likely an undercount since several people remain trapped beneath rubble.

This article originally appeared in CommonDreams; it has been supplemented with late-breaking information.

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Olivia Rosane
Olivia Rosane

Olivia Rosane is Opinion Editor and News Writer at Common Dreams, a reader-supported independent news outlet "To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good." Rosane previously wrote for EcoWatch, a long-time leader in environmental news.