Skip to content

Middle East Crisis Live: White House Says It Wants ‘answers’ From Israel After Mass Graves Found Near Hospitals In Gaza

Welcome and opening summaryWelcome to our latest live blog on the Israel-Gaza war and the wider Middle East crisis. I’m Martin Belam in London and I’ll be with you for the next while.

The White House says it wants “answers” from Israeli authorities after the discovery of mass graves at two Gaza hospitals destroyed in Israeli sieges.

Gaza’s civil defense agency said health workers uncovered nearly 340 bodies of people allegedly killed and buried by Israeli forces at the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, reports Agence France-Presse. About 30 bodies were reported found buried in two graves in the Al-Shifa hospital courtyard in Gaza City.

Israeli army spokesperson Major Nadav Shoshani claimed the grave at Nasser “was dug – by Gazans – a few months ago”.

The Israeli army did acknowledge that “corpses buried by Palestinians” had been examined by soldiers searching for hostages, but did not directly address allegations that Israeli troops were behind the killings.

More on that in a moment but first, here’s a summary of the latest developments:

Israel appears to be readying to send troops into Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, the only corner of the strip that has not seen fierce ground fighting and where more than half of the Palestinian territory’s population of 2.3 million has sought shelter. The Israeli military said on Wednesday that two reservist brigades had been mobilised for missions in Gaza, while video that circulated online appeared to show rows of square white tents going up in Khan Younis, 3 miles (5km) north of Rafah, which was decimated in a months-long Israeli air and ground campaign.

Hamas has released a video of an Israeli-American man held hostage in Gaza who is seen alive and saying that the captives are living “in hell”. He identifies himself as Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, one of the hostages abducted from the Nova music festival in southern Israel during the Hamas attack on 7 October. The video showed him missing a hand. His parents said in a statement they were “relieved to see him alive” but worried for his wellbeing.

A top Hamas political official has told the Associated Press the militant group is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more with Israel and that it would lay down its weapons and convert into a political party if an independent Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders. The comments by Khalil al-Hayya in an interview Wednesday came amid a stalemate in months of ceasefire talks.

Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant has claimed that since 7 October 2023, Israeli military strikes have killed half of Hezbollah’s commanders in southern Lebanon. Israel’s military issued a statement earlier to say this morning it struck at what it called “Hezbollah terror targets” in southern Lebanon. “Many forces are deployed on the border and IDF forces are carrying out offensive action currently throughout southern Lebanon,” Gallant said in a statement.

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday condemned pro-Palestinian protests at universities in the United States as “horrific”, saying the demonstrations “have to be stopped”, as he categorised students as antisemitic.

Featured News