Gazans Search For Loved Ones As Bulldozers Unearth Bodies Near Hospital

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Khan Yunis, Palestinian Territories: Palestinian woman Reem Zidan had been searching for her son for months, and finally found his body on Wednesday as a bulldozer unearthed human remains outside a Gaza hospital.

"They told me to move away, but I said, 'my son is on the bulldozer'," Zidan told AFP from the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis, crediting her "maternal instinct" for "knowing" it was the body of 22-year-old Nabil.

As combats subsided in Khan Yunis after Israeli forces withdrew from the area in their fight against Hamas, health workers have begun recovering bodies buried next to the city's Nasser Hospital -- southern Gaza's largest.

"I haven't seen him for three months, and today I found him", Zidan said, adding that Nabil was killed by shrapnel from an Israeli air strike.

Gaza's Civil Defence agency said Tuesday that workers had uncovered nearly 340 bodies over several days of people killed and buried by Israeli forces at the hospital.

"We were surprised that inside the Nasser Medical Complex there are mass graves made by the Israeli occupation" military, Civil Defence spokesman Mahmoud Bassal told AFP.

The Israeli army has denied troops had dug the graves.

Some parents told AFP the bodies recovered had been buried by relatives.

Unlike Zidan, others who went to the Nasser complex in hope of recovering their relatives' bodies could not find them.

Sonia Abu Rajilah, 52, from Khan Yunis, said her son 29-year-old son Hazem was buried by his friends near the hospital, but that she and her other sons have not been able to find him.

"Now I wait among the bodies being pulled out, hoping to recognise his body," she told AFP.

She was looking for the beige shirt and grey trousers he was wearing the last time she saw him, the mother said.

Calls for an international investigation into the deaths at Nasser Hospital have grown, including from rights group Amnesty International.

"Without proper investigations to determine how these deaths took place or what violations may have been committed, we may never find out the truth of the horrors behind these mass graves," Erika Guevara, the rights group's policy director, said in a statement.


The Peninsula

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