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27 Apr, 2024 07:43

Israel rejects US call to probe Gaza mass graves – Politico

Accusations of torture and executions against Israeli troops are “fake news,” an IDF spokesman told the outlet
Israel rejects US call to probe Gaza mass graves – Politico

Israel will not investigate the mass graves found at Gaza hospitals, as it has already dealt with the matter and found no wrongdoing by its troops, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has told Politico.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday that Washington wanted to see the circumstances surrounding the hundreds of deaths “thoroughly and transparently investigated.” 

Officials in Gaza have said a total of 392 bodies, including those of women and children, and others bearing signs of torture and executions, have so far been found at makeshift burial sites at two hospitals that had been raided by the Israeli military.

IDF spokesperson Nadav Shoshani told Politico on Friday that reports of Israeli troops having anything to do with the mass burials were “fake news.”

When asked whether that meant that Israel would not investigate the matter, he replied: “Investigate what?”

“We gave answers. We don’t bury people in mass graves. Not something we do,” the spokesman insisted, without specifying to whom those answers were given.

An unnamed US official told Politico that “the Israelis have told us privately what they’ve said publicly, that they totally reject the allegations.” However, the source stressed that the authorities in Washington “aren’t in a position to validate that, and would like a thorough and transparent investigation into the reports.”

Israel earlier said its forces had to fight inside the Nasser and Al-Shifa hospitals because Hamas militants used them as their bases – a claim that both the Palestinian armed group and medics have denied. According to the IDF, its troops killed around 200 militants at Al-Shifa, without harming civilians.

Sullivan’s call for a probe into the mass graves came on the same day that US President Joe Biden signed a $95 billion foreign aid package, which included $26.4 billion in military assistance for Israel.

The death toll from Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive in Gaza over the past six months has reached 34,356, with 77,368 others wounded, according to the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry. The campaign was launched in response to an incursion into Israel by Hamas militants on October 7, in which at least 1,200 people were killed and 250 taken hostage.