Mass graves in Gaza reveal mass executions – Day 192

Mass graves in Gaza reveal mass executions – Day 192

Mass graves containing Palestinian bodies found in multiple Gaza locations; released Gazan prisoners report abuse by Israeli forces; humanitarians face “hostile” environment, Israel breaking promise to increase aid; “unprecedented” levels of contamination in northern Gaza; Israel announces tents to be built ahead of attack on Rafah; Israel obstructing UN probe, Israelis obstructing aid; Israel and Iran violated int’l law; West Bank deaths as Israeli settlers and military team up, more

By IAK staff, from reports


At least 10 bodies found in al-Shifa Hospital mass grave, 20 in Beit Lahiya

Al Jazeera reports: Motasem Salah, the director of the Gaza Emergency Operations Center, says 10 bodies have been recovered so far from a mass grave discovered earlier on Monday at Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital (NOTE: CNN reports 15 bodies).

The hospital was recently raided and besieged by Israeli soldiers, who withdrew from the area earlier this month.

“Work has resumed inside the al-Shifa Medical Complex to search for and identify mass graves as well as the bodies that have been buried in these graves,” Salah said.

Despite a lack of forensic experts and adequate equipment, search parties have resorted to using shovels and their hands to try and dig out the bodies of believed-to-be patients who were receiving treatment at the hospital.

“Some of these bodies are decomposed, while others are body parts. Many of them were women and children,” he added.

Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud adds from Rafah: Doctors were able to identify these bodies as patients. They still had medical bandages and catheters attached to their bodies.

Medical staff inside the hospital confirmed that these people were, in fact, executed by the Israeli military very close to the main gate of al-Shifa Hospital when it was stormed in March.

When the Israeli military stormed it, they destroyed the vast majority of the hospital’s facilities and equipment as well as the buildings in its vicinity, the majority of them residential buildings, where people had been sheltering since the beginning of this war.

In Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, another mass grave containing about 20 decomposed bodies was discovered.

Residents said the bodies belong to the Al-Assaf family, and said they were killed during an incursion by the Israeli military forces in the area four months ago.

The constant spectre of death in the Strip has led many residents to perceive their existence as a liminal state—a blurred boundary between life and death. As journalist Rami Abu Jamus eloquently put it: "We have come to a point where death and life mix. We are between life and death. We are dead, but still alive. We are alive, but always dead."
The constant spectre of death in the Strip has led many residents to perceive their existence as a liminal state—a blurred boundary between life and death. As journalist Rami Abu Jamus eloquently put it: “We have come to a point where death and life mix. We are between life and death. We are dead, but still alive. We are alive, but always dead.” (photo)

Gaza officials: 150 detainees freed by Israel speak of abuse

The New Arab reports: Gaza’s Crossings Authority said Israel released dozens of Palestinian detainees into the territory on Monday, who speak about the abuse and mistreatment they faced in Israeli detention.

“Since the early hours of the morning, 150 prisoners from various parts of the Gaza Strip who were detained by the Israeli occupation have been released,” via the Kerem Shalom border crossing, according to Crossings Authority spokesman Hisham Adwan.

“It is very noticeable that there is severe mistreatment of these prisoners, as a number of them were sent to Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital for treatment” in Rafah, a city in Gaza’s far south, he added.

Humanitarians face “hostile” environment, Israel breaking its promises to increase aid

OCHA reports: Jamie McGoldrick, interim humanitarian coordinator for OCHA, explained, humanitarians are working in an extremely challenging and hostile operating environment characterized by an unpredictable notification system, lack of communications equipment, no hotline to directly contact the Israeli military at times of emergency, a security vacuum, and a range of access constraints such as access denials and long hours of waiting at checkpoints.

Assistance to northern Gaza has been far from adequate, and “at no point in time in the last month and more had we had three or even two of those roads [linking southern and northern Gaza] working at the same time simultaneously,” added McGoldrick.

Noting that several commitments have already been made by Israeli authorities to facilitate the scaling up of assistance, he stated that no visible difference can yet be seen on the ground, warning that “if we don’t have the chance to expand the delivery of aid in all parts of Gaza, but in particular to the north, then we’re going to face a catastrophe.”

WFP emphasized that, in recent months, northern Gaza “has largely been cut off from aid and has recorded the highest levels of catastrophic hunger in the world.”

More information here.

Palestinians return to ruined homes in Gaza’s Maghazi refugee camp
Palestinians return to ruined homes in Gaza’s Maghazi refugee camp (photo)

Northern Gaza faces ‘unprecedented levels’ of contamination, media office says

Al Jazeera reports: Gaza’s media office says some 700,000 people in northern Gaza are facing a health crisis as environmental contamination in the area has reached “unprecedented levels”.

With “mountains of waste and hundreds of mass graves”, as well as rubble and debris from the widespread destruction of residential homes and buildings, the office said infectious diseases are rapidly spreading.

The situation is only growing worse as municipal workers still have no access to adequate equipment and tools they need to deal with the “massive amounts of waste and destruction”, the office said.

Israel to set up 10,000 tents near Rafah to further displaced Palestinians, media reports

Middle East Monitor reports: Israel intends to set up 10,000 tents near the city of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, within two weeks in preparation for its army’s ground invasion of the city, local media reported yesterday.

Israel’s Kan channel said that it obtained an official document indicating that “Israel will set up 10,000 tents outside Rafah over the next two weeks.”

“There are 30,000 additional tents currently being purchased and that will be installed in the area later,” it added.

The channel also noted that “Based on the timetable [for setting up these tents], one can say that the path to evacuating residents from Rafah is still long.”

In spite of growing international warnings of the catastrophic repercussions of such a move, including from the US, Israel insists on invading Rafah, claiming that it is “the last Hamas stronghold”. More than 1.4 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah after being forcibly removed from their homes in Gaza.

A view of tents in a makeshift shelter for Palestinians who fled to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, January 30, 2024
A view of tents in a makeshift shelter for Palestinians who fled to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, January 30, 2024 (photo)


Israeli protesters block Gaza aid trucks from Jordan for hours at Allenby crossing

Ha’aretz reports: Protesters tried to block the passage of aid trucks from Jordan to Israel overnight into Tuesday on their way to the Gaza Strip.

The Order 9 movement said the protesters blocked the Allenby crossing – now declared a closed military area – for six hours, before security forces contained them and allowed the trucks to pass around 4 A.M.

UN commission accuses Israel of obstructing Oct. 7 probe

The New Arab reports: A U.N.-mandated commission of inquiry that probes violations of international human rights law on Tuesday accused Israel of obstructing its efforts to collect evidence from the victims of the attack by Hamas in southern Israel on October 7.

“So far as the government of Israel is concerned, we have not only seen a lack of cooperation, but active obstruction of our efforts to receive evidence from Israeli witnesses and victims to the events that occurred in southern Israel,” said Chris Sidoti, one of three members of a commission of inquiry into abuses committed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

[See more info here and Al Jazeera investigation here.]

Israel and Iran violated international law: UN experts

OHCHR reports: UN experts said Israel does not appear to have been exercising self-defense on 1 April because it presented no evidence that Iran was directly committing an “armed attack” on Israel or sending non-state armed groups to attack it. The experts noted that Israel has not provided any legal justification for the strike or reported it to the Security Council, as required by Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

“Israel’s attack consequently violated the prohibition on the use of armed force against another state under Article 2(4) of the Charter,” the experts said.

The experts warned that Israeli military personnel and civilian officials responsible for the attack may also have committed crimes under an international counter-terrorism treaty of 1971, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons.

The experts said Iran’s response was also a prohibited use of force under international law. Israel’s strike on 1 April may have been serious enough to qualify as an “armed attack” on Iran, since it targeted senior military commanders and diplomatic premises. Yet Iran had no right of self-defense on 13 April because Israel’s attack concluded on 1 April. Self-defense is only lawful where is it necessary to stop a continuing armed attack. “Forcible retaliation, punishment or deterrence are illegal,” they warned.

Note: The Israeli attack kIlled 9 people. The Iranian attack killed no one. US experts believe the Israeli attack  was an attempt by the Israel to escalate its conflict with the Palestinians into a confrontation with Iran, hoping to draw the United States into the fray…

Rubble is cleared from the deadly strike April 1 on an Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus, Syria.
Rubble is cleared from the deadly strike April 1 on an Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus, Syria. (photo)

Nine Iranian missiles breached Israel’s air defense, airbases hit

Al Jazeer reports: At least nine Iranian ballistic missiles managed to elude Israel’s elaborate air defense system and the fire from allied militaries in the region.

Five projectiles hit the Nevatim airbase, damaging a C-130 transport aircraft, a runway and empty storage facilities. An additional four ballistic missiles hit the Negev airbase, but there were no reports of significant damage.

The Arrow-3 is a very new system for the Israelis. It was the first time it was deployed. It’s designed to bring down ballistic missiles. The fact that nine actually got through is going to be a cause of concern for the Israelis.

West Bank

Two Palestinians die following Israeli colonist attack

WAFA reports: Two Palestinian victims Monday evening succumbed to their injuries sustained in an Israeli colonist attack at Khirbet at-Tawil, east of the town of Aqraba, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, according to a local official.

Earlier, Israeli colonists, under military protection, attacked Palestinian farmers tending to their farmland and opened live gunfire at them, injuring two with bullets and inflicting bruises and fractures across the body of another.

The gun-toting soldiers prevented an ambulance from providing emergency aid to the casualties, who were left to bleed to death. Their bodies are still withheld by the soldiers.

The Health Ministry identified the victims as Mohammed Ashraf Bani Jame, 21, and Abdulrahman Maher Bani Fadel, 30.

Colonist violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.

CNN adds: The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement it received a report Monday “about a Palestinian suspect who attacked a Jewish shepherd” in the Gitit area in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley. “A violent confrontation developed there between Palestinians and Israeli citizens,” the statement said.

[CNN failed to mention that previously Israeli soldiers had shot dead a Palestinian shepherd at point-blank range.]

When IDF forces arrived, they “worked to disperse the confrontation,” and “during the incident, two Palestinians were killed,” the statement said.

NOTE: Israel has illegally built around 280 settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are home to more than 700,000 illegal settlers. Israeli settlements and settlers on Palestinian land are a violation of international law. Settlers, moreover, have a history of violence against Palestinians, often with the assistance of Israeli military forces.
Israeli soldiers and settlers confront Palestinians during a protest against the expansion of Jewish settlements near the West Bank town of Salfit, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.
Israeli soldiers and settlers confront Palestinians during a protest against the expansion of Jewish settlements near the West Bank town of Salfit, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

US embassy ‘heartbroken’ over killing of USAID employee

The US Embassy in Jerusalem has sent its “deepest condolences” to the family of Jacob Toukhy, a USAID staff member killed by an off-duty Israeli police officer in the city of Jaffa on Friday night.

Toukhy, was riding his motorcycle wearing his volunteer paramedic uniform when he was allegedly assaulted and shot by the off-duty police officer, the Times of Israel reported.

The officer has now been arrested.

Toukhy, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, worked for the USAID/West Bank and Gaza Mission.

Israeli forces joining settlers in attacks on Palestinians

The New Arab reports: The UN voiced grave concern Tuesday over escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, demanding that Israeli security forces “immediately” stop supporting settler attacks on Palestinians in the occupied territory.

“The Israeli security forces must immediately end their active participation in and support for settler attacks on Palestinians,” rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

“Israeli authorities must instead prevent further attacks, including by bringing those responsible to account.”

For a summary of West Bank incidents, read IMEMC: Comprehensive West Bank Violation Update

More news

Al Jazeera: Bombs and viruses: The shadowy history of Israel’s attacks on Iranian soil
Middle East Monitor: When Namibia stands up to Germany, it shows that Gaza has revolutionized the Global South
IMEMC News Reports


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – April 15: at least 34,751* (34,274 in Gaza* (at least 14,560 children, 9,582 women), and at least 477 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 40,042 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 2.2 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Crisis, Emergency, or Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – April 15: at least 81,465 (including at least 76,465 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 15: ~1,407 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~574 were civilians, 373 or 337 were security and/or military forces, ~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.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

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