90 bodies recovered from Khan Younis after Israel withdrawal

90 bodies recovered from Khan Younis after Israel withdrawal
Civil defence authorities told The New Arab that around 90 bodies had been recovered from Khan Younis after Israeli forces pulled out of the city on Sunday.
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Israeli forces have devastated Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip [Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty]

Around 90 bodies have been recovered from Khan Younis after Israeli forces withdrew from the city in southern Gaza on Sunday, civil defence authorities told The New Arab on Tuesday.

Such is the destruction that many residents returning from neighbouring Rafah, where more than 1.5 million Gazans have been sheltering, have struggled to find their way around.

"We don't recognise places, because nothing looks the same," said Salim Sharab.

Others said the smell of death hangs in the air, with people digging bodies of the rubble.

The city's civil defence appealed to the United Nations on Monday for hydraulic equipment to get to the bodies, most of which they say are badly decomposed.

Palestinians filtered in to Khan Younis on Monday to salvage what they could from the vast destruction left by Israeli troops.

With thousands of buildings destroyed or damaged, families tried to find their homes along streets bulldozed down to the dirt, surrounded by landscapes of rubble and debris that were once blocks of apartments and businesses.

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On other blocks, buildings still stood but were gutted shells, scorched and full of holes, with partially shattered upper floors dangling off precipitously.

"My house was completely destroyed and is rubble," Aisha Al-Hoor said.

"My heart was consumed with pain, in every corner of my house there were memories… the scale of the devastation is indescribable.

"The army left nothing intact for the people. The anger and pain in our hearts will never be forgotten."

Mohammed Dahalan was one of the lucky ones.

His apartment was intact even though his neighbours had lost their walls and windows.

However, the Israeli army left "explosive materials inside... we do not know how to handle them", he said.

On Sunday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said nurse Mohammed Abed's body had been located, around two weeks after Israeli forces fired at him while Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis was being evacuated after Israeli forces raided the medical facility.

"[Abed's] decomposed body was found today [Sunday], identified through the uniform of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, which was supposed to provide him with protection," PRCS said in a post on social media platform X.

Israel's war on Gaza has so far killed 33,360 people and injured 75,993, according to the enclave's health ministry.

The International Court of Justice in January found that Israel was plausibly breaching the UN's Genocide Convention in Gaza.