Final count: bodies of 392 Gazan Palestinians discovered in mass graves – Day 202

Final count: bodies of 392 Gazan Palestinians discovered in mass graves – Day 202

Gruesome discoveries on Gaza hospital grounds; Israeli airstrike kills Belgian aid worker and son, 7; premature baby girl Sabreen has died; another US State Dept employee resigns over Gaza policy; military-industrial complex profits from weapon sales to Israel; “Biden has betrayed the soul of our nation”; Freedom Flotilla: Israel plays dirty (again); nonviolent campus protests spread, met with violence, more

By IAK staff, from reports

Almost 400 bodies have been found in mass grave in Gaza hospital, says Palestinian Civil Defense

CNN reports: Authorities in Gaza have concluded their search of mass graves at a hospital in the south of the strip and said they have uncovered a total of 392 bodies, including some still wearing surgical gowns.

Speaking at a Thursday news conference, an official from the Palestinian Civil Defense in Gaza said workers have identified 165 bodies at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the area earlier this month.

They are still examining the remaining 227 bodies to determine their identities.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said any suggestion that it had buried Palestinian bodies in mass graves was false.

The Palestinian Civil Defense also showed graphic images on a TV screen at the news conference. CNN has reviewed the photos that appear to show several almost unrecognizable bodies at the complex. The images also include bodies of decomposed children.

A CNN stringer who visited the scene on Sunday and Monday saw several decomposed bodies in surgical gowns. Photos CNN has reviewed show several bodies still wearing hospital wristbands.

CNN footage also shows several other children’s bodies decomposed in the complex.

A Palestinian civil defense spokesperson said there had been cases of executions of patients who had been receiving treatment at the hospital. He said several bodies were found with gunshot wounds to their heads and injuries to their bodies.

Among the grisly discoveries around Nasser Hospital was the mutilated body of a young girl in a surgical gown, suggesting she may have been buried alive, alongside another victim similarly attired.
Among the grisly discoveries around Nasser Hospital was the mutilated body of a young girl in a surgical gown, suggesting she may have been buried alive, alongside another victim similarly attired. (photo)

Belgian aid worker killed in Israeli airstrike in Rafah

Andalou Agency reports: A Belgian aid worker and his son have been killed by Wednesday night’s Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Belgian development agency Enabel said on Thursday.

According to a statement released by the agency, Nabhan’s wife is in critical condition in hospital and the couple’s two other children — aged 5 and 7 months — sustained minor injuries.

The aid worker’s 65-year-old father, 35-year-old brother, and 6-year-old niece also lost their lives in the attack, it said.

The attack took the lives of “at least seven people and many others were injured,” the statement noted.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib expressed solidarity with the aid worker’s family and colleagues.

Premature baby girl rescued from her dead mother’s womb dies in Gaza after 5 days in an incubator

Associated Press reports: A premature Palestinian infant, rescued from her mother’s womb shortly after the woman was killed in an Israeli airstrike, has died, her uncle said Friday.

Sabreen Jouda died in a Gaza hospital on Thursday after her health deteriorated and medical teams were unable to save her, said her uncle, Rami al-Sheikh.

Sabreen’s home in the southern Gaza city of Rafah was hit by an Israeli airstrike shortly before midnight Saturday. Her parents and 4-year-old sister were killed.

First responders took the bodies to a nearby hospital, where medical workers performed an emergency cesarean section on her mother, Sabreen al-Sakani, who was 30 weeks’ pregnant. The infant was kept in an incubator in a neonatal intensive care unit at another hospital until she died five days later.

Sabreen was buried next to her father on Thursday.

Sabreen Jouda lies in an incubator in the al-Helal hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza
Sabreen Jouda lies in an incubator in the al-Helal hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza (photo)

Gaza Civil Defense issues heat warning to displaced Palestinians

As temperatures soar in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Civil Defense has warned that conditions are ripe for “the expansion of the spread of epidemics and diseases among [displaced Palestinians], especially among children and pregnant women”.

“Drink plenty of water, try to ventilate the place, keep children away from the sun’s rays, especially at peak heat times, and be sure to wipe their bodies with cold water constantly”, spokesperson Mahmoud Basal said in a statement on Telegram, speaking to the thousands of displaced Palestinians currently sheltering in tents.

RECOMMENDED READING: A statistic 1,000 times too small doesn’t warrant a correction in the NY Times

US State Department Arabic spokesperson resigns in opposition to Gaza policy

Reuters reports: The Arabic language spokesperson of the U.S. State Department has resigned, citing her opposition to Washington’s policy related to the war in Gaza, in at least the third resignation from the department over the issue.

Hala Rharrit was also the Dubai Regional Media Hub’s deputy director and joined the State Department almost two decades ago as a political and human rights officer, the department’s website showed.

“I resigned April 2024 after 18 years of distinguished service in opposition to the United States’ Gaza policy,” she wrote on social media website LinkedIn. A State Department spokesperson, asked about the resignation in Thursday’s press briefing, said the department has channels for its workforce to share views when it disagrees with government policies.

Senator Bernie Sanders has words for Netanyahu

“No, Mr. Netanyahu,” tweeted Sen. Sanders. “It is not antisemitic or pro-Hamas to point out that in a little over six months your extremist government has killed 34,000 Palestinians and wounded more than 77,000 – 70% of whom are women and children. You will not distract us from this immoral war.” His statement continued:

Ukraine, Israel bill to bolster military-industrial profits

Reuters reports: Lockheed Martin Corp and RTX Corp, fresh off a surge of orders in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine and the war in Gaza, stand to profit from $95 billion of mostly new weapons funding as the increasingly drawn out conflicts renew demand for pricey equipment.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed a hard-fought bill into law that provides billions of dollars of new U.S. aid to Ukraine for its war with Russia, including $61 billion for Ukraine and $26 billion for Israel.

“There are now factories breaking ground around the country,” because of the new funding and several recent “supplemental” funding rounds, said the Pentagon’s acquisitions chief Bill LaPlante on Wednesday.

Combat in Ukraine and Israel have consumed high volumes of munitions.

Lockheed’s CEO Jim Taiclet told investors on Tuesday that he expects that the fiscal 2025 “presidential budget requests and additive supplemental funding will provide a strong underpinning for future growth over the next several years for our company.”

Pro-Israel lobby presses for US military support in war against Gaza

American Jewish Committee Leadership Joined by European Jewish Congress on Israel Solidarity Mission; ADL advocates for aid to Israel; Hadassah: Stand with Israel: Three Actions You Can Take Now!

Israel has one of the world's most powerful militaries; their soldiers are equipped with advanced armor and weapons (Pictured: 2022, Israeli forces take up a position during clashes with Palestinians following a deadly Israeli raid in Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank)
Israel has one of the world’s most powerful militaries; their soldiers are equipped with advanced armor and weapons (Pictured: 2022, Israeli forces take up a position during clashes with Palestinians following a deadly Israeli raid in Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank) (photo)

‘Biden has betrayed the soul of our nation’: CAIR

President Joe Biden and many members of Congress have “passed the moral point of no return” by unconditionally providing billions of dollars in military aid to Israel as it continues to kill and maim Palestinians in Gaza, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says.

“By signing legislation that gives Benjamin Netanyahu another $17bn blank check for his genocide, President Biden has betrayed the soul of our nation and disregarded the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly support a ceasefire and oppose unconditional aid to Israel,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.

“Giving the Israeli government billions more in weaponry despite all of those war crimes is unconscionable … Concrete steps to end the occupation that has trigged cycles of violence for generations … must end once and for all, here and now.”


Underhanded Israeli Tactic Delays Flotilla Departure

Freedom Flotilla Coalition reports: The Freedom Flotilla is ready to sail. All the required paperwork has been submitted to the port authority, and the cargo has been loaded and prepared for the trip to Gaza.

However, today we received word of an administrative roadblock initiated by Israel in an attempt to prevent our departure. Israel is pressuring the Republic of Guinea Bissau to withdraw its flag from our lead ship—Akdeniz (“Mediterranean”). This triggered a request for an additional inspection, this one by the flag state, that delays our April 26 planned departure.

This is another example of Israel obstructing the delivery of life-saving aid to the people in Gaza who face a deliberately created famine. How many more children will die of malnutrition and dehydration because of this delay and an ongoing siege which must be broken?

This is not the first time that Israel has used these kinds of tactics to stop our ships from sailing. We have overcome them before and are diligently working to overcome this latest attempt. Our vessels have already passed all required inspections and we are confident that the Akdeniz will pass this inspection provided there is no political interference. We expect this to be no more than a few days delay. Israel will not break our resolve to reach the people of Gaza.

South African solidarity: Mandela’s grandson joins Gaza aid flotilla

Middle East Monitor reports: South African politician Mandla Mandela, grandson of Nelson, has joined the Freedom Flotilla taking aid to Gaza, announcing that ‘I am a living example of what international solidarity can achieve, we defeated the apartheid government.’

Mandela said Israel’s planned blockade of the aid ship would be a breach of international law, and that the flotilla activists were determined to break Israel’s blockade and siege of Gaza.

NOTE: We will bring regular updates about the 2024 Freedom Flotilla until it arrives in Gaza.
NOTE: Read about the individuals who launched the flotilla movement over 16 years ago here.


Students vow to continue Gaza protests after California, Texas arrests

Al Jazeera reports: Student protesters in the United States have vowed to continue demonstrations against Israel’s war on Gaza, despite the arrest of many of protesters.

On Thursday, hundreds of students from universities across Washington DC gathered at George Washington University, as the nationwide protests intensified.

Speaking from the campus of Columbia University on Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson suggested calling in the National Guard.

At Atlanta’s Emory University, police officers entered the campus and used tear gas and tasers on protesting students, before arresting demonstrators.

Meanwhile, USC on Thursday said that it was going to cancel its main graduation ceremony after the administration cancelled a speech by a pro-Palestinian student.

The movement is calling on universities to cut financial ties to Israel and divest from companies they say are enabling its brutal war in Gaza.

The student-led protests have been peaceful and largely respectful, but have been met by heavy-handed action from many universities amid allegations of anti-Semitism.

Vox adds: A total of 47 students were arrested at Yale on Monday, and more than 150 were arrested at New York University overnight Tuesday. On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed Texas police to the UT-Austin campus, where they arrested 34 including a journalist. Boston police also arrested 108 people at a protest led by Emerson College students who linked arms tightly and raised umbrellas. Four officers were injured while trying to break up the crowd.

Student protests on Columbia’s campus have been nonviolent so far. Representatives from the New York Police Department said during a press conference Monday that there had been some incidents in which Israeli flags were snatched from students and unspecified hateful things said. But they said that there have not been any reports of Columbia students being physically harmed or any credible threats made against individuals or groups associated with the university community ahead of the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

New York City Police Department has stormed the campus of Columbia University, where students have been camped out in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, demanding that the institution divest from Israel.
New York City Police Department has stormed the campus of Columbia University, where students have been camped out in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, demanding that the institution divest from Israel. (photo)

Poll shows changing student opinions about October 7th attacks

NBC News reports: The share of American college students who blame Hamas for the Oct. 7 attack on Israel has declined by more than 10 percentage points in the last six months, according to a new Generation Lab poll of two-and four-year college students.

Forty-one percent of college students say Hamas deserves blame for its Oct. 7 attack that the Israeli government says killed 1,200 people — down from 52% who said that in an earlier Generation Lab poll released in mid-October 2023 after the attack, which prompted an Israeli military response in Gaza that is still ongoing.

By contrast, 27% in the new poll believe Israel deserves blame for the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, which is up from 11% in October.

And 20% said they see the attack as a justified act of resistance by Hamas, which is up from 12% in October.

RECOMMENDED READING: Amnesty Int’l Urges University Administrations to Respect and Protect Students’ Rights to Protest  

We have to call this madness out for what it is. It was chaos on that campus. I mean, we were looking out to a sea of students’ faces with rage. So many of them don’t even know what the heck they’re talking about. – House Speaker Mike Johnson, speaking to Fox News after visiting Columbia University.


Electronic Intifada: Fear of malaria rises in Rafah
Electronic Intifada: Genocide triggers ecological disaster
Al Jazeera: ‘Fire and forget’ in Gaza
Al Jazeera: ‘Change starts on college campuses’: From South African apartheid to Vietnam War
Al Jazeera: Are settler politics running unchecked in Israel?
Middle East Monitor: It could take 14 years to clear debris in Gaza: UN


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – April 24: at least 35,147* (34,649 in Gaza* (at least 14,690 children, 9,680 women), and at least 498 in the West Bank (117 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 42,510 Palestinian deaths.

At least 42 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank)

At least 31 Palestinian children and several adults have died due to malnutrition**

About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.

About 1.1 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – April 24: at least 81,664 (including at least 77,229 in Gaza and 5,000 in the West Bank).

It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties in Gaza.

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – April 24: ~1,407 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 259 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 16 in the West Bank) and~8,730 injured.

Times of Israel reports: The IDF also listed 41 soldiers killed due to friendly fire in Gaza and other military-related accidents – nearly 16%.

NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel on October 7 were caused by Israeli soldiers.

*Previously, IAK did not include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile was being disputed. However, given that much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, Israel had previously bombed the hospital and has attacked many others, Israel is prohibiting outside experts from investigating the scene, and since the UN and other agencies are including the deaths from the attack in their cumulative totals, if Americans knew is now also doing so.

**Euro-Med Monitor reports that Gaza’s elderly are dying at an alarmingly high rate. The majority die at home and are buried either close to their residences or in makeshift graves dispersed across the Strip. There are currently more than 140 such cemeteries. Additionally, according to Euromed, thousands have died from starvation, malnourishment, and inadequate medical care; these are considered indirect victims as they were not registered in hospitals. 

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

For more news, go here and hereBroadcast news from the region is here.

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