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Israel-Gaza war: 49 bodies found at ‘third mass grave’ at al-Shifa hospital, Palestinian officials say


Gaza health workers uncovered on Wednesday at least 49 bodies at al-Shifa hospital, a medical official and Hamas authorities said, the latest such discovery at the facility previously raided by Israeli forces.

The Israeli military has repeatedly targeted al-Shifa, the Palestinian territory’s largest hospital, and other medical facilities in its war against Hamas, triggered by the Palestinian group’s unprecedented October 7 attack.

Israel accuses Palestinian militants of using hospitals as command centres and to hold hostages abducted on October 7. Hamas denies the accusation.

Motassem Salah, head of the emergency department at al-Shifa, told journalists that “a third mass grave was found inside this hospital”.

The Hamas-run government media office said in a separate statement that at least 49 bodies had been recovered from the site on the premises of al-Shifa.

A man tapes off the area as rescuers and doctors search for dead bodies inside the damaged al-Shifa Hospital on April 8. Photo: Reuters

The statement accused Israel of “killings … inside and outside hospitals”, without offering further information concerning the bodies found on Wednesday.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment.

Footage from al-Shifa hospital showed at least a dozen bodies wrapped in black plastic body bags.

Standing in front of the ruins of the hospital, which was devastated by two weeks of fighting in March, Salah said several of the bodies had decomposed.

Last month, around 30 bodies were reported found buried in two other graves in the hospital courtyard.

After the Israeli assault in March, the World Health Organization said al-Shifa had been reduced to ashes, leaving behind an “empty shell” with many bodies.

Israeli forces were battling Palestinian militants at the hospital even as patients had been trapped there.

A Palestinian man watches as a digger excavates a mass grave at the Nasser Medical Hospital compound in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, on April 21. Photo: Bloomberg

The military said that over the course of the fighting, 200 militants were killed and hundreds more detained. Gaza’s Civil Defence agency reported at least “300 martyrs” in the two-week battle.

On Wednesday, the media office said health workers continued to uncover bodies from the complex.

So far, 520 bodies have been recovered from “seven mass graves” found at three different hospitals across Gaza in recent weeks, the media office said.

The October 7 attack on southern Israel that sparked the war resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, according to official Israeli figures.

Militants abducted some 250 people during the attack. Israel estimates 128 of them remain in Gaza, including 36 who officials say are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed 34,844 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.


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