The International Rescue Committee (IRC) expresses deep concern over reports of multiple mass graves found at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis and Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following the Israeli military's withdrawal from both sites. 

Bob Kitchen, Vice President of Emergencies at the IRC, stated,

“We are horrified at the news of hundreds of bodies buried in mass graves at health facilities in Gaza. Some of the deceased were allegedly elderly, women, and wounded individuals — with some found with their hands tied and stripped of their clothes. We echo the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' demand for an immediate and thorough independent investigation into these incidents.

“The IRC worked at Nasser Hospital via our joint Emergency Medical Team (EMT) with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) in January 2024, but was forced to suspend operations there as a result of a missile strike on the compound housing the EMT. The recent reports of more than 320 bodies recovered so far from Nasser Hospital are devastating, and confirm the worst fears of our team at the time: that those left behind in the hospital were at risk of serious harm. We had lost contact with health workers and patients at Nasser and now fear they are amongst those killed.

“The reports coming out of Al-Shifa Hospital, which was Gaza’s largest health facility, are equally harrowing. According to the UN, the hospital has been reduced to 'an empty shell,' with at least 21 patients reportedly dying during Israel's siege of the facility and now mass graves reported to have been found in its courtyard.

“Civilians must be protected at all times and regardless of where they are sheltering. In fact, International Humanitarian Law specifically prohibits attacks on hospitals, ambulances and their personnel and protects those with medical needs during armed conflicts. After more than 200 days of death and destruction, every possible avenue to bring the conflict to an end by political means must be leveraged. Alongside the need for an immediate international and independent investigation into these latest grave incidents, we continue to reiterate our call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to ensure no further loss of life."