IDF points to video from January of Gazans digging grave

White House demands ‘answers’ from Israel after Gaza hospital mass grave claims

‘We want to see this thoroughly and transparently investigated,’ says US national security adviser; IDF spokesman: Grave in question was dug by Palestinians several months ago

Palestinian health workers dig for bodies buried at Nasser Hospital compound in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 21, 2024. (AFP)
Palestinian health workers dig for bodies buried at Nasser Hospital compound in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 21, 2024. (AFP)

The White House said Wednesday it wanted “answers” from Israeli authorities, after Hamas officials in Gaza claimed to discover a mass grave at a hospital that was the target of a recent IDF raid.

On Tuesday, Gaza’s Hamas-run Civil Defense agency said that health workers uncovered nearly 340 bodies of people allegedly killed and buried by Israeli forces at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. But evidence has suggested this is false, with the bodies having previously been buried at that same location by Palestinians amid the fighting between Israeli forces and terror operatives in the area.

“We want answers,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters. “We want to see this thoroughly and transparently investigated.”

A spokesperson for the US State Department also said Washington was continuing to press Israel for more information.

The claimed discovery by Hamas officials prompted the United Nations to demand an independent probe into the situation, backed by the European Union.

“Misinformation is circulating regarding a mass grave that was discovered at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis. The grave in question was dug — by Gazans — a few months ago,” Israeli army spokesman Major Nadav Shoshani wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “This fact is corroborated by social media documentation uploaded by Gazans at the time of the burial, as seen in the video below.”

“Any attempt to blame Israel for burying civilians in mass graves is categorically false and a mere example of a disinformation campaign aimed at delegitimizing Israel,” Shoshani added.

The previous day, the Israel Defense Forces rejected Hamas’s allegation as “baseless,” saying forces searching for Israeli hostages had examined bodies previously buried by Palestinians near Nasser Hospital and had returned the bodies to where they were buried after they were examined.

It has been documented that Palestinians buried their dead at the hospital grounds both before and while Israeli troops operated in the area.

The location of that burial site was geo-located by experts to the same location where Hamas officials claimed to have discovered the new mass grave.

Generally, the IDF does not tend to the bodies of slain Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF, in its response, said that during its operation in the area of Nasser Hospital in recent months, troops examined corpses that had been buried by Palestinians on the medical center’s grounds, “as part of an effort to locate hostages.”

The military said it operated in a “targeted manner,” only where it had intelligence that Israeli hostages may have been buried.

“The examinations were carried out in an orderly manner while maintaining the dignity of the deceased and in a respectful manner,” the IDF said, adding that the bodies were “returned to their place in an orderly and proper manner.”

No bodies of hostages were located.

In late February, the IDF carried out a raid against Hamas in the area of Nasser Hospital, with the IDF saying that it captured some 200 terror operatives who were holed up at the medical center.

The military has operated in hospitals in several instances during the war, offering evidence of their repeated use by Gaza terror groups to stage operations, as well as to hold hostages.

Though hospitals are protected sites in war under international law, they lose their protected status if used for military purposes.

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