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Israel Needs Archeologists to Help Find Human Remains from Oct 7 Attack

Archeologist searches burned home – Photographer-Shai Halevi , Israel Antiquities Authority

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists, enlisted to help the Israel Defense Forces efforts to identify remains in burnt houses in the Israeli communities around Gaza destroyed by Hamas, have so far uncovered remains of at least ten deceased persons

Just how awful could the barbaric Hamas terrorist attack on innocent Israeli civilians have been to require the enlisting of archeologists to help in the search for victims’ remains? This a question many people probably would not know the answer to. But Israeli authorities have been forced to do exactly that, bringing in Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists to help in the efforts to search for missing persons in the houses and cars that were incinerated in the 7th October Massacre.

Whole families, including babies, were burned alive by Hamas. Hamas terrorists also fired bombs at the cars of people who tried to flee its attack. This left many people’s remains unrecognizable and that is why it is taking so long to officially identify victims.

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To date, out of the more than 1,400 innocent victims of the attack, only 843 of them have been identified.

Archeologists help IDF personnel in the search for victims’ remains Photographer-Assaf Peretz , Israel Antiquities Authority

Since they began their work about two weeks ago, archaeologists managed to find certain evidence of at least ten deceased persons, who were previously considered missing.

The archaeologists now engaged in this sad task have been employing the techniques and the knowledge they acquired in archaeological excavations of burnt and destroyed ancient sites. This allowed them to discover many signs of human remains, in the hope that they would provide certain evidence for the families regarding the fate of their dear ones.

They have combed and sieved the ash from the burnt houses in which families from Kibbutz Be’eri, Kfar Aza and Nir Oz were murdered, as well as the contents of the cars from the party at Kibbutz Reim.

According to the archaeologists, “The archaeological methods employed at ancient sites are similar to the methods applied here, but it is one thing to expose 2000-year-old destruction remains, and quite another thing—heart-rending and unfathomable—to carry out the present task searching for evidence of our sisters and brothers in the communities.”

“Taking into account all the difficulty and the emotional challenges involved, our hope is that we can contribute to the certain identification for as many as possible families, regarding the fate of their dear ones,” says Eli Escusido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “I salute our archaeologists for their immediate agreement—by no means to be taken for granted—to take part in this difficult task. It is an honor and a great responsibility that they are carrying out with great respect.”

The sad and difficult work of identification of the bodies is being carried out in a joint activity of the Israel Police, the IDF, the Ministry of Health, the Pathological Institute for Forensic Medicine, and volunteer organizations at a facility established at the military’s Shura camp.

Thousands of police officers and specialists have been working in shifts since the outbreak of war, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in the difficult work of identification of the victims, using advanced technological means, to carry out a complete identification process.

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