Victims of Israeli barbarity buried
GAZA: For days bodies filled the morgues. Only since guns fell silent have volunteers come to dig graves in the sand in Rafah, Gaza’s “town of martyrs,” devastated by Israeli bombardment.
For three days the strategic southern town went through hell.
“The tanks came,” says Mohammed Abu Luli, 50, who fled his home after the bombardment started.
“There were strikes from air, land and sea. The bombs rained down everywhere. I have never seen anything like it in all my life,” he added.
In neighborhoods, houses lie flattened or ripped open by shelling. Asphalt on the road has been ripped up by the weight of Israeli tanks.
Rafah experienced some of the worst fighting during the month-long war between Israel and Hamas.
Mohammed’s brother Mahmud Abu Luli was sheltering in a UN school in the center of Rafah.
“But there was an Israeli bombardment just outside the school, in the street. I saw everything, there was a pool of blood on the ground,” he said behind his bushy white beard.
“Rafah is a town of martyrs!” he adds as men standing by nod in a agreement and children collect pieces of shell and mortar from the ground.
Even morgues overflowed.
“We had to use all the places in the hospital and neighbors’ houses and rental refrigerators for vegetables and put the bodies in them. The situation was a tragedy,” said Mohammed Al-Masri, director of the small Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah.
In a cemetery just 100 meters from the Egyptian border, men dig trenches in the sand and put in cement blocks to form small tomb-like rectangles. Each body is placed in a rectangle, then the whole space covered up into a mass grave.
Thirty little anonymous mounds quickly form in the sand. Outside the cemetery a group of relatives mourn the death of Sumaya Abid Duhair, a nurse killed in an air strike on her house. “We have to keep working because other bodies will be buried here,” says Nidal Shalagel, a volunteer in his 30s. “That’s enough. We need peace. No one likes death.”
Meanwhile, Save the Children placed full-page adverts in British newspapers on Wednesday listing the names of 373 Palestinian children killed as part of the charity’s campaign for a permanent cease-fire.
The black-and-white advert in broadsheet newspapers carries the names of the children that the Palestinian Ministry of Health and United Nations have reported to have died between July 8 and Aug. 3.
Readers are invited to send text messages as part of the campaign to force a permanent cease-fire “for the children of Gaza and Israel.”
In a separate statement, Save the Children said the public health system in Gaza was close to collapse and that half a million people were displaced from their homes.
Save the Children’s David Hassell said: “For the sake of children and their families, we are hoping that this cease-fire holds.
“It is desperately needed, as essential services in Gaza have all but collapsed and we are struggling to reach the most vulnerable children caught in this conflict.”