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Israeli forces desecrated at least 16 cemeteries in Gaza during their aggression: Report

Israeli troops stand on tanks at a position near the border with the Gaza Strip on January 12, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

A new investigation has found that Israeli forces have desecrated at least 16 cemeteries in the Gaza Strip during the regime’s ongoing war against the besieged terrirtoy.

CNN, based on satellite imagery and social media footage, published an investigation on Saturday, saying Israeli troops have left tombstones torn down and even bodies unearthed as they destructed the cemeteries.

It went on to say that the regime forces have destructed an entire cemetery in the southern city of Khan Yunis, removing bodies buried there.

The Israeli military has defined the move as part of a search for the remains of captives taken by the Palestinian resistance during the operation al-Aqsa Strom in early October, the US-based broadcaster added.  

Legal experts told CNN that Israel’s acts could amount to war crimes, stressing that the intentional destruction of religious sites, such as cemeteries, violates international law.

Confirming the desecration of the cemeteries by the regime forces, an Israeli military spokesman also told the broadcaster that the military sometimes has “no other choice” but to target cemeteries it claimed Hamas uses for military purposes.

The report further noted that in other cases, however, Israeli forces appear to have used cemeteries as military outposts.

Satellite imagery and videos showed that Israeli bulldozers turned multiple cemeteries into staging grounds, leveling large swaths and erecting fortifications.

Satellite imagery also showed a fixed presence of Israeli military forces in the central part of the Shajaiya cemetery since December 10.

At the Bani Suheila cemetery, east of Khan Yunis, satellite imagery revealed the graveyard’s deliberate and progressive bulldozing and the creation of defensive fortifications over the course of at least two weeks in late December and early January.

Destroyed tombstones and heavy tread marks also pointed to heavily armored vehicles or tanks driving over graves in Al Falouja cemetery in the Jabalia neighborhood as well as the Tuffah cemetery, east of Gaza City.

Israeli forces also severely damaged the cemetery in Khan Yunis, as they moved in on the area surrounding the Nasser Hospital and a Jordanian field hospital, according to satellite imagery and videos reviewed by CNN.

The Israeli regime waged the war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.

Since the start of the aggression, Israel has killed more than 24,900 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

The Tel Aviv regime has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

Israel says 253 people were taken captive during the Hamas surprise operation and believes 132 hostages are still in Gaza – 105 of them alive and 27 dead.

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