Middle-East

Palestinian authorities seek probe into mass graves at Gaza hospitals

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UN rights chief said on Tuesday he was "horrified" by the destruction of the Nasser and Al Shifa medical facilities and by the reports of the mass graves.

A Palestinian civil defence team on Thursday called on the United Nations to investigate what it said were war crimes at a Gaza hospital, saying nearly 400 bodies were recovered from mass graves after Israeli soldiers departed the complex.

"There are cases of field execution of some patients while undergoing surgeries and wearing surgical gowns at the Nasser Medical Complex," the civil defence forces said at a press conference, without presenting any evidence.

Palestinian authorities have this week reported finding hundreds of bodies in mass graves at Nasser Hospital, the main medical facility in central Gaza, after Israeli troops pulled out of the city of Khan Younis.

Bodies were also reported to have been found at the Al Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, which was targeted in an Israeli special forces operation.

UN rights chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday he was "horrified" by the destruction of the Nasser and Al Shifa medical facilities and by the reports of the mass graves, according to a spokesperson.

France on Thursday called the reports "extremely worrying" and added its voice to growing calls for an independent investigation.

The Israeli military said claims by Palestinian authorities that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) had buried the bodies were "baseless and unfounded".

It said forces searching for Israeli hostages had examined bodies previously buried by Palestinians near Nasser Hospital and had returned them after they had been examined.

"The examination was conducted in a careful manner and exclusively in places where intelligence indicated the possible presence of hostages. The examination was carried out respectfully while maintaining the dignity of the deceased," it said in a statement.

Israel has denied killing those found in the graves and has released footage they say shows Palestinians digging these graves before the IDF operation.

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