The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Tuesday that several bodies uncovered in mass graves at two medical facilities in the besieged region of Gaza were found with their hands tied.

“Among the deceased were allegedly older people, women and wounded, while others were found tied with their hands…tied and stripped of their clothes,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

She said this “indicates serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and these need to be subjected to further investigations”, reported The Guardian.

On Monday, the Palestinian civil defence in Gaza said it had uncovered 283 bodies from a mass grave inside the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, reported the Associated Press.

Shamdasani said on Tuesday that 30 bodies were also found buried in two graves in the courtyard of the Al-Shifa Hospital, which was Gaza’s main tertiary facility before Israel’s unprecedented air and ground strikes on the enclave destroyed it.

“There are reports that the hands of some of these bodies were also tied,” she said.

According to the spokesperson, there could be many more victims, “despite the claim by the Israeli Defense Forces to have killed 200 Palestinians during the Al-Shifa medical complex operation”.

The United Nations human rights chief Volker Türk expressed his “horror” at the reported discovery of mass graves and the destruction of the Nasser and Al-Shifa hospitals in Gaza.

“The intentional killing of civilians, detainees and others who are hors de combat [persons not involved in combat duty] is a war crime,” said Türk.

The human rights chief also called for independent investigations into the deaths.

Concurring with Türk’s statement, Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, said “we need a clear, transparent and credible investigation” into the mass graves at the two facilities.

When asked who can carry out the investigation, Dujarric said: “There are different bodies within the United Nations which could create the mandate and have the authority to create an investigation. I think it’s not for anyone to prejudge the results of who would do it. I think it needs to be an investigation where there is access and there is credibility. But I think that can only be judged once something is set up.”

The Israeli military, meanwhile, has called the claims that it buried the bodies during its siege on the hospitals “baseless and unfounded”, reported Al Jazeera.

It said corpses buried by Palestinians in the area “were examined” under “the effort to locate hostages and missing persons” during the military’s operation around Nasser hospital.

“The examination was conducted in a careful manner and exclusively in places where intelligence indicated the possible presence of hostages,” said the military.

It claimed the examined bodies that did not belong to Israeli hostages “were returned to their place”.

The Israeli military’s relentless air and ground operations in the besieged Palestinian territory have killed over 34,000 people so far, including 14,685 children. The war began after Palestinian militant group Hamas led an incursion into southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking over 200 hostages.

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