The United Nations Security Council on Friday called for an investigation into mass graves allegedly containing hundreds of bodies near Gaza hospitals, while the organization’s chief warned of the risk of an “epic humanitarian catastrophe” at Rafah.

On Friday, the UN Security Council called for an “independent” and “immediate” investigation following the discovery of mass graves around Gaza hospitals, where “hundreds” of people were buried.

In a statement, the Council members expressed “their deep concern at reports of the discovery of mass graves in and around the Nasser and al-Shifa hospitals in Gaza, where hundreds of bodies, including women, children and elderly people, were buried”.

They stressed the need for “accountability” and called for investigators to be given “unhindered access to all mass grave sites in Gaza, to conduct an immediate, independent, rigorous, comprehensive, transparent and impartial investigation to determine the circumstances behind the graves”.

The Council does not specify who might lead this investigation.

Colossal humanitarian disaster

An Israeli ground offensive on Rafah would lead to a “colossal humanitarian catastrophe”, warned the UN Secretary General on Friday, at a time when military operations against Hamas in this overcrowded city are paralyzing the flow of aid into the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly ruled that the Palestinians deserved full membership of the organization, granting them some additional rights in the absence of a real membership blocked by the United States.

On the other hand, the United States is “watching with concern” the military operation in Rafah, but does not consider it to be “major”, White House spokesman John Kirby said on Friday.

Despite the reopening on Wednesday of the Kerem Shalom crossing, next to Rafah, closed by Israel for three days after Hamas rocket attacks, the delivery of aid remains “extremely difficult”, Andrea De Domenico, head of the office of the United Nations humanitarian agency (Ocha) in the Palestinian territories, told AFP.

On Friday evening, Cogat, the Defense Ministry body overseeing civil affairs in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, announced “the transfer of 200,000 liters of fuel to international organizations” via Kerem Shalom.


For its part, Egypt urged Hamas and Israel on Friday to show “flexibility”, while the efforts of the mediating countries (Egypt, Qatar, USA) “continue” with a view to a truce, despite the departure from Cairo on Thursday of delegations from both sides, according to the Egyptian media Al-Qahera News.

John Kirby said that Washington still considered an agreement on a truce in Gaza “possible”.

For Hamas, Israel’s “rejection” of the latest truce proposal brings negotiations “back to square one”.

On Monday, it had given the green light to a proposed truce in three phases, each lasting 42 days, including an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and an exchange of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners, with a view to a “permanent ceasefire”.

Colombia steps up to the plate

Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who has already severed all diplomatic ties with Israel, accusing it of “genocide” in the Gaza Strip, on Friday called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Netanyahu will not stop the genocide. This implies an international arrest warrant from the Criminal Court,” wrote Mr. Petro on X, in response to a message on the social network referring to the Israeli Prime Minister’s desire to launch a ground military operation on the town of Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

He also suggested that “the (UN) Security Council should consider setting up a peacekeeping force in Gaza”.

With AFP