Gaza Civil Defense: 90% of bodies found during truce decomposed and unidentified | Policy


Gaza Civil defense teams recovered about 250 bodies of martyrs from streets and roads Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip, over the past five days. temporary truce between Islamic resistance movements (agitation) and Israel.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, Civil Defense spokesperson Major Mahmoud Bassal said that 90% of these bodies were decomposed and unidentified because they had been lying on the streets for a long time and neither ambulance nor civil defense teams were able to reach them in time. Arrive. We were able to reach and recover them due to the intensity of Israeli air strikes and ground incursions deep into Gaza City and its northern areas.

In the following conversation, civil defense spokespersons talked about the huge challenges they faced in front-line work, as well as the painful and poignant human scenes of survivors under the ruins of their destroyed homes and the families of martyrs under the ruins. And ambulances and civil defense teams are unable to recover them, regardless of whether these houses are in dangerous areas where Israeli tanks and vehicles are still present, or due to weak human and material resources.

  • Will the days of armistice help you to go to the battlefield to evacuate the wounded and treat the martyrs?

From the first moment the temporary ceasefire agreement came into force, teams formed for this purpose began moving and surveying the streets and roads within their reach of Gaza City and the northern parts of the Gaza Strip, which are free of Israeli tanks and vehicles. The scenes were harrowing, shocking, and there were many places our team couldn’t get to because there were so many risks involved.

The occupying forces did not hesitate to shoot anyone who moved, as well as citizens who tried to go home to check on the situation, such as in the city near the Red Crescent-affiliated Al-Quds Hospital in the community of Tal Hawa in southwestern Gaza and in the Al-Nasr community in northern Gaza City. Al-Rantisi and Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital, and other areas near the Israeli security fence. East Gaza City and North Gaza Strip.

A girl is rescued from the rubble of Gaza after Israeli bombing. Source: Al Jazeera Screen
A girl is rescued from the rubble of Gaza after Israeli bombing (Al Jazeera)
  • What are the highlights of these scenes?

Many of these scenes may not have lived up to the imagination of filmmakers and fictional films…the rotting corpses of martyrs, including a group of women, children and men who were killed as the occupying forces raised the white flag and in their path. They fled from the northern Gaza Strip to the south after the intensification of the aggression against the Gaza Strip. Israel’s motive is to empty the area of ​​residents and force them to move to cities in the southern Gaza Strip.

This criminal act proves the lies of the occupying forces’ claims of safe roads and areas, as these and others were subjected to gunfire and direct targeting, regardless of the white flag signaling peace.

There is a scene that cannot be erased from my memory, that of a mother who holds her child and protects him until she takes her last breath, being rescued by civil defense personnel, and there is another scene of a family that our team pulled out of the ground. Five days later, their home was in ruins, but all the members, men, women, and children, were still alive.

Before Al-Shifa Hospital was invaded by the occupying forces, a man came to me and asked where the attack was and what the target was. I told him that a house in the Tal Al-Hawa neighborhood belonged to a certain family. -So he found the owner of that house, whose wife and all his children had been martyred. This is a scenario repeated by millions of people around the world in video clips likely circulated on social media platforms by doctors, nurses, citizens. Defense members and journalists were surprised to receive their families, martyrs and wounded during their field work.

  • How many bodies have civil defense teams recovered from Gaza and its north?

Since the armistice agreement came into effect, we have recovered about 250 corpses, 90% of which are decomposed and unidentified. They are difficult to identify due to heavy shelling and severe disfigurement. They were transformed into body parts and decomposed because most of them remained on the streets and roads since the war began. Ground operations and occupation forces tanks and vehicles penetrate deep into Gaza City and into Syrian cities and regions in the northern Gaza Strip.

These decomposing bodies posed a serious danger to ambulance and civil defense personnel as well as the general public. These bodies were supposed to be treated with preventive medicine, but due to the emergency situation, our personnel in collaboration with the families of the martyrs recovered them and transported them to the cemetery and buried.

  • What about the martyrs trapped under the rubble?

During the ceasefire, our work was limited to recovering the bodies of martyrs from the streets and squares, and did not deal with the destroyed houses and residential buildings. The Ministry of Health estimates that about 7,000 missing people are trapped, and their recovery requires a huge mechanism to remove the numerous Thousands of tons of rubble, and civil defense in northern areas. There was only one excavator in the Gaza Strip, including Gaza City, after the occupying forces targeted three excavators and put them out of service, and during the weeks of the war they committed terrorism against the workers of these excavators, to prevent them from working and moving on site.

  • In terms of numbers, what were your human and material losses in the war?

25 people were killed and more than 100 injured, including amputations, as a result of crimes directed against them by Civil Defense field workers.SecondIn addition to martyrs and wounded on-site personnel, the occupying forces destroyed the main civil defense center in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip and directly targeted fire trucks and ambulances, as there were 32 fire points in the defense facilities in the northern Gaza Strip. engines, most of which were taken out of service, and five of the nine ambulances. Serve.

The occupying forces also destroyed the main and only water tank supplying fire engines, which had a capacity of 15,000 liters and was built in Gaza City with funding from the State of Qatar. The tank is no longer in use and is currently in need of repairs.

  • How does this positioning impact your work?

Due to the long-term siege and frequent wars in the Gaza Strip, the Civil Defense Bureau faces multiple crises, the most prominent of which are a lack of human resources and weak financial resources. There are only 150 members in Gaza City and the Northern Strip, out of a total of 800 members. At the sectoral level, it is noted that the protocol regulating the work of civil protection agencies worldwide states that one member of civil protection is required for every 1,000 citizens, which means that we need 3 times this number to perform the required tasks.

  • How long will the martyrs remain buried under the rubble of destroyed homes and buildings when the situation is so bad?

I am very sad to say that before the manpower and material resources are in place, we will not be able to recover the martyrs and missing persons from under the rubble of destroyed houses and buildings. We urgently need 50 excavators and 50 bulldozers to remove tons of rubble scattered in La La. Every street, neighborhood and city on the Vegas Strip.

  • Have you received any external, regional or international assistance from civil protection agencies?

No one communicated with us and no assistance was provided to us in terms of human resources, machinery, equipment or material capabilities from any party. Likewise, we have not received a single liter of fuel since the occupying forces invaded the area north of the Gaza Strip and isolated it from the outside world. It’s in the south, and even after a temporary truce was reached, they continued to block the delivery of fuel to us.

  • What are your current priorities and needs?

In short, we need a new civil defense agency because the catastrophic consequences of Israel’s war cannot be dealt with with our small personnel and limited capabilities, a large part of which has been decommissioned.

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