Media: “Israel desecrated Gaza cemeteries.” IDF declares: “Operations to search for hostages’ bodies”
The Israeli army has reportedly desecrated at least 16 cemeteries during its offensive in Gaza, leaving behind broken tombstones, piles of dirt and, in some cases, exhumed bodies. This emerges from an investigation by the American television channel CNN. The channel cites the case of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces destroyed a cemetery and removed some bodies. IDF sources said these operations are searching for the remains of hostages seized by Hamas during the October 7 terrorist attacks. “The process of identifying the hostages, carried out in a safe and alternative location, guarantees optimal professional conditions and respect for the deceased,” an Israel Defense Forces spokesman told CNN, adding that unidentified bodies like those of the hostages ” “to be returned with dignity and respect”.
The spokesman could not explain the destruction of the 16 cemeteries for which CNN provided the coordinates, the US broadcaster added, but said that the army sometimes had “no choice” but to target the cemeteries, which he believes are being used by Hamas for military purposes.
The deliberate destruction of religious sites such as cemeteries violates international law, except in certain circumstances, namely when such a site becomes a military target, writes CNN. According to legal experts interviewed by the broadcaster, Israel's actions could amount to war crimes.