“After Israeli Withdrawal: Al-Shifa Hospital Scenes Reveal Mass Graves and Body Bags”

On April 1, Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital complex after conducting their second raid there. Palestinians, surveying the charred remains, described the scene as reeking of death.

Throughout the eight-month war, hospitals have repeatedly come under attack. Israel has claimed these facilities are used as bases by Hamas, a claim the group denies. The situation at al-Shifa, once Gaza’s largest and best-equipped medical facility, has been particularly dramatic.

The two-week raid was launched by Israel, which stated that Hamas had regrouped at the site. The Israeli government described the operation as “precise and surgical.” Government spokesman Avi Hyman claimed, “We took out over 200 terrorists and apprehended over 900 with not a single civilian casualty.”

However, this claim was immediately questioned as decaying bodies were found protruding from sand piled by combat bulldozers in the hospital courtyards. In recent weeks, four mass graves have been uncovered at the site, with Palestinian search teams reporting the discovery of several hundred bodies.

We have collaborated with a journalist in Gaza to track these developments.

Getty Images Palestinian forensic and civil defence recover bodies at the grounds of Al-Shifa hospital
Palestinian search teams say they have recovered hundreds of bodies

“We’ve extracted martyrs, many of whom are decomposed and completely unidentifiable,” said Rami Dababesh, a worker with the Palestinian Civil Defence, on May 8th, standing solemnly beside a row of white plastic body bags at al-Shifa, wearing a face mask and full protective gear.

“We’ve found corpses of women, children, and individuals without heads, as well as torn body parts,” he added.

Despite lacking forensic equipment and expertise, the Civil Defence teams have been diligently documenting the remains using photos and videos. Dr. Mohamed Mughir, a director, expressed concern over suspicious findings, describing signs of field executions, binding marks, gunshot wounds to the head, and torture marks on the limbs observed on the bodies of some martyrs.

The discovery of mass graves at both al-Shifa and Nasser hospital in southern Gaza has raised alarm globally. The UN Security Council, along with the US and the European Union, has expressed deep concern and called for an independent investigation into possible war crimes.

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