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Children among dead bodies found in Gaza hospital mass grave

Palestinian children among dead bodies found in Nasser Hospital mass grave in Gaza
3 min read
26 April, 2024
Gaza’s civil defence officials say mass graves found in Al Nasser hospital included hundreds of women, children and the elderly.
People and health workers unearth bodies found at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 23 [Getty]

Bodies uncovered in an ongoing investigation into the discovery of mass graves at one of Gaza’s major hospitals are those of children, Palestinian officials have said. 

At Nasser Hospital, Gaza’s civil defence officials have shown photographic and video evidence of the remains of children who were allegedly killed and buried by Israeli forces in the grounds of the hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis

Nasser Hospital, alongside Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, contains mass graves of bodies belonging to women, children and the elderly, some showing signs of torture and executions.  

The discoveries have led to calls from the UN, US and others for international investigations into the mass graves.

"Why do we have children in mass graves?" Palestinian Civil Defence member Mohammed Mughier said, according to Al Jazeera English

Mughier emphasised that the evidence illustrating the acts of the Israeli armed forces were "crimes against humanity". 

Twenty bodies also showed signs of being "buried alive" and having their arms bound. 

Others who were killed still had medical tubes attached, according to the Palestinian Civil Defence member. 

"We need forensic examination for approximately 20 bodies for people who we think were buried alive," Mughier told Al Jazeera English. 

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According to Yamen Abu Sulaiman, head of the civil defence department in Khan Younis, three separate graves have been unearthed, and so far, only 65 out of the hundreds of recovered bodies have been identified by relatives.

There were also signs of field executions taking place, as evidenced from some of the bodies found.

The Israeli foreign ministry denied all reports on Wednesday and disclaimed responsibility for the mass graves. 

"Any attempt to blame Israel for burying civilians in mass graves is categorically false and a mere example of a disinformation campaign aimed at delegitimizing Israel," the statement read.  

"Misinformation is circulating regarding a mass grave that was discovered at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. The grave in question was dug — by Gazans — a few months ago." 

UN rights chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday he was "horrified" by the destruction of the Nasser and Al-Shifa hospitals and by the reports of the mass graves, according to a spokesperson. 

On Thursday, France called the reports "extremely worrying" and added its voice to growing calls for an independent investigation. 

The US State Department said on Tuesday that reports on mass graves in Gaza were troubling.


The office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague is investigating the Gaza war, including the events of 7 October and their aftermath. 

Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan has said his team is "actively investigating any crimes allegedly committed" in Gaza and that "those who are in breach of the law will be held accountable". 

Palestinian authorities say a grave site discovered at the Nasser Hospital contained nearly 400 bodies altogether. 

It was uncovered after Israeli troops pulled out of the city of Khan Younis. 

Another grave site was also found by Palestinian authorities at Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, which had been targeted by Israeli forces. 

The health ministry in the enclave said on Thursday that at least 34,305 people have been killed in the territory during more than six months of the devastating conflict. 

The tally includes at least 43 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 77,293 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip. 

Reuters also contributed to this piece.