Gazans bury their dead in orchards and football fields

Earlier than he fled his house in northern Gaza, the place intense combating now rages between Israel and Hamas, Mahmud al-Masri had a grim job to do: bury his three brothers and their 5 youngsters in a close-by citrus orchard.
Together with his house space become a conflict zone, the bereaved 60-year-old farmer had no alternative however to dig makeshift graves and rapidly bid farewell to his relations killed in an Israeli strike.
“We needed to bury them there within the orchard as a result of the cemetery is within the border zone the place tanks are coming in, and it’s extremely harmful,” Masri mentioned.
“I’ll switch the our bodies when the conflict is over.”
Masri, who’s now holed up along with his household in a hospital in southern Gaza, lived in a two-storey home in Beit Hanoun within the semi-rural northeast of the Gaza Strip, not removed from the border fence with Israel.
Masri determined initially to disregard Israeli warnings to flee south when conflict broke out after the October 7 Hamas assaults that killed 1,400 folks inside Israel, principally civilians, and noticed about 240 hostages taken, in line with Israeli officers.
Two weeks of heavy bombardment modified his thoughts and he resolved to get his spouse and youngsters out when the combating intensified and fears of an enormous floor invasion grew day-to-day.
Now — greater than 4 weeks into the brutal conflict — upwards of 10,500 folks, once more primarily civilians, have been killed in Israeli bombardments of Gaza, in line with the Hamas-run well being ministry.
Masri instructed his story to as he and his rapid household sheltered in an overcrowded hospital within the south.
He recalled that he was compelled to bury his brothers and nephews within the orchard as a result of the incessant bombing and incursions by Israeli troopers meant his household couldn’t attain Beit Hanoun’s cemetery.
He put bricks on the bottom to mark the place his relations lay.
However he added that he had since discovered that Israeli army bulldozers had destroyed his home and mentioned: “I do not know if the graves are nonetheless there as nothing is being spared.”
Mass graves
The October 7 assault was the worst in Israeli historical past, and the Gaza conflict it unleashed has been the bloodiest but within the long-blockaded Palestinian territory of two.4 million.
Our bodies have piled up exterior hospitals, on roads and in parks, in refrigerated vehicles and even in a repurposed ice cream van.
Most cemeteries are both full or inaccessible due to Israeli strikes, and so households of the useless need to improvise when burying their family members.
When dozens of individuals have been killed in a bombardment on the Jabalia refugee camp in early November, round 50 our bodies have been stacked up within the rear of a pick-up truck and brought to a neighborhood hospital.
From there they have been transported, some in donkey-drawn carts, in direction of a cemetery for burial.
However due to an absence of area there, relations needed to dig a communal mass grave at a mud soccer discipline the place native groups used to play, an AFP photographer mentioned.
The sports activities floor is bordered on three sides by faculties run by the UN company for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, which at the moment are shelters for internally displaced Gazans.
Males utilizing picks and shovels dug an oblong pit within the soccer discipline earlier than burying the our bodies, AFPTV footage confirmed.
Within the gap, males have been laid on one facet and girls on the opposite. Corrugated iron sheeting was positioned on high after which lined with a layer of earth.
Shihteh Nasser, 48, helped within the burial.
“We bury the useless in soccer fields and different vacant tons as a result of the right burial grounds are full,” he mentioned.
“Generally the our bodies are taken there in carts as a result of there isn’t any gas anymore for vehicles.”

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