UN human rights chief ‘horrified’ over Gaza mass graves report

The UN’s human rights chief has said he is “horrified” by reports of mass graves containing hundreds of bodies in Gaza.
Palestinian authorities said they were uncovered at Nasser hospital in the central city of Khan Younis, and at al Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
Some had their hands tied and were “stripped of their clothes”, said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for UN human rights commissioner Volker Turk.
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“The intentional killing of civilians, detainees and others who are hors de combat [not participating in hostilities] is a war crime,” said Mr Turk in a statement.
More than 300 bodies were found at one grave at Nasser, according to the Palestinian health ministry, with two more sites found but not yet excavated.
Some were allegedly older people, women, and the wounded, the UN said.

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A 14-year-old boy, whose family was killed in airstrikes, said he found his mother’s body at the Nasser site.
He buried her yesterday but is still looking for his sister, father and his cousin.
“They hit us near the Qadissiyah monument, in Abraj Taiba,” Moayed Suleiman Mahmoud Mustafa told Sky News.
“Two F-16 missiles hit us, and my entire family died, no one remains except for me.”
“So, I came here to look for them. I only found my mother, we buried her yesterday. I am now looking for my sister, my father and my cousin.”
“Solve this issue with the world, solve it with the [Israelis], we want a solution, we want to rest. We don’t want to be living like that, we want to live,” he added.

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The mass graves were found after Israeli troops left, but its military said claims they had buried the bodies were “baseless and unfounded”.
A Sky News team at the site has also not heard any accounts of bodies being found tied up.
Israel’s military said it had found and examined bodies previously buried by Palestinians near Nasser hospital while checking to see if any of its hostages were among the dead.
“The examination was conducted in a careful manner and exclusively in places where intelligence indicated the possible presence of hostages,” a statement said.
“The examination was carried out respectfully while maintaining the dignity of the deceased.”

Image: Palestinians sit in rubble of a building in northern Gaza. Pic: Reuters
Thirty more bodies were reportedly found in two graves in the courtyard at al Shifa hospital, Ms Shamdasani added.
“There are reports that the hands of some of these bodies were also tied,” she said.
The UN said al Shifa – Gaza’s biggest hospital – had been reduced to “an empty shell” following Israeli offensives at the site.
Israel has said Hamas militants were based there, hiding out in a network of underground tunnels.
It said “about 200 terrorists” were also “apprehended” at Nasser hospital – but that it acted in a “targeted manner and without harming the hospital, the patients and the medical staff”.
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Image: This image appears to show tents being constructed near Khan Younis. Pic Planet Labs/AP
Israel is continuing its operation to destroy Hamas after the group killed about 1,200 people and took others hostage in October last year.
On Tuesday, Israel ordered new evacuations in a “dangerous combat zone” in northern Gaza.
An army spokesperson said people were being urged to flee from the Beit Lahia area in the territory’s northeast.
The area lies a short distance from Beit Hanoun city, where Israeli tanks made a new incursion overnight.
There were also reports of shelling in the nearby city of Jabalia and district of Zeitoun.

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Meanwhile, satellite photos appear to show a compound of tents being put up near Khan Younis amid fears about an Israeli attack on the southern city of Rafah, about five miles (8km) away.
The city has swelled during the war to around 1.2 million due to people fleeing from the north.
Israel has said it will evacuate people from Rafah during any offensive, but UN human rights chief Mr Turk warned it could still lead to “further atrocity crimes”.

Source : Sky News