Israeli rescuers and officials are struggling to store bodies of hundreds of unidentified civilians as the rising toll has overwhelmed the permanent mortuary facilities in the country, the Times of Israel said in a report.
These bodies are now hauled via refrigerated trucks and are being covered in white sheets or sealed in plastic bags. They are being kept in a small corner of an Israeli army’s base.
The officials responsible for identifying the bodies and contacting next of kin for further identification said that they try to identify those who do not come with identification using DNA, fingerprints and teeth records. The person mentioned above said that in-person family identifications are not being done because they are “impossible to identify after a while”.
“Most people have fingerprints in a database — if they have a biometric ID or a passport, from the army, or if they were arrested. If for some reason they can’t do that because they’re children or the body is mutilated to the point of not being able to take fingerprints, they go through the process of DNA. Some bodies are so mutilated,” Josh Wander, spokesperson for Israeli rescue organisation Zaka, said.
Josh says that DNA processing takes longer time which means more uncertainty for the families.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) announced that 854 civilians were brought to a rabbinate of which 361 have been identified and 264 buried. The rest are yet to be identified.
Over 1,300 Israelis have been killed and more than 3,300 were wounded. An estimated 150 Israelis were kidnapped and taken to the Gaza Strip, and are now being held hostage.
On October 7, Hamas surprised Israel in the early hours of Saturday morning, breaking down the border fence and carrying out attacks against civilians in Sderot, Ashkelon, Be’eri and several other southern Israeli towns which run parallel to the Gazan border.
Over 1,500 Palestinians have also died in Israel’s retaliatory attacks. The Israeli government has vowed to strip Hamas of all its attacking and military capabilities and devastate it to a point that it cannot mount another attack on Israel.
Israel has accused Hamas of raping and beheading women and children and have vowed to take stern action and asked Gaza residents in Wadi Gaza to head south turning over 1.1 million people into refugees.