Mass graves, unclaimed bodies and overcrowded cemeteries in Gaza

It was neither the place nor the time for a proper goodbye, said Omar Dirawi.

Not here, in this dusty field strewn with dead people wrapped in blankets and zipped up in body bags. And not now, as Israeli airstrikes crashed around him for the third week, erasing more of his neighbourhood and sundering hundreds of families and friendships.

Yet on this October week in Gaza’s central town of Zawaideh, the 22-year-old Palestinian photojournalist buried 32 members of his family who were killed in Israeli air raids last Sunday.

Dirawi’s aunts, uncles and cousins from Gaza City had heeded Israeli military evacuation orders and taken refuge in his home farther south.

Days later, Dirawi was unloading their bodies from the back of a truck, digging a narrow trench partitioned with cinder blocks and reciting abbreviated funeral prayers before nightfall, when Israeli warplanes screeched, and everyone ran indoors.

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