Dogs Seen Eating Bodies in Rafah Streets Amid Ongoing Israeli Military Operations in Gaza

by Ohepo Ohepo

In Rafah, the capital of the Rafah Governorate in the State of Palestine, located southwest of Gaza City, a harrowing scene unfolds as dogs, reportedly in packs, have begun scavenging human remains from the streets. Rehab Abu Daqqa, a refugee living in Gaza, shared these disturbing details with the BBC. She described how dogs pulled out a body from a grave and began eating it, causing immense distress among the local population, particularly the children. “This morning the dogs took out a body from one of the graves and were eating it. From night until dawn the dogs do not let us sleep, our children keep holding on to me because of how scared they are,” Abu Daqqa said.

The BBC report further reveals that many of these dogs were once domestic pets, left to fend for themselves after their owners either died or were displaced due to ongoing conflicts. The makeshift cemetery where this incident took place contains numerous shallow graves, where the dead are temporarily placed. Some relatives have attempted to protect these graves by placing bricks on them, albeit with little success.

The dire circumstances have deeply impacted the children of the area, as illustrated by Abu Daqqa’s own words: “I don’t accept that me or my children should live next to a cemetery. My child is in the 3rd grade and today instead of playing a game he was drawing a grave and in the middle, he drew a dead body. These are the children of Palestine… What can I tell you? Miserable, the word miserable doesn’t even explain it.”

The situation in Rafah has been further exacerbated by overcrowding, with the city’s population swelling to more than 1.4 million — five times its pre-war population — due to the influx of refugees. This has led to outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis A, and meningitis. The city also faces a severe hunger crisis.

Rafah serves as a final barrier for many refugees in Gaza, lying close to the closed border with Egypt. With the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announcing plans for a “limited” operation in eastern Rafah, many residents, including Abu Daqqa who has already fled three times, face the possibility of further displacement. The IDF has directed about 100,000 people to relocate to an “expanded humanitarian area” in Khan Younis and al-Mawasi.

This escalation follows seven months of conflict, with Israel stating the necessity of taking Rafah to defeat Hamas. However, international warnings from bodies such as the UN and the US caution that an assault on the city, now a shelter for over a million displaced Palestinians, could lead to catastrophic consequences. Recent Israeli airstrikes in Rafah have already resulted in at least 19 Palestinian deaths, a response to Hamas rocket fire that killed three Israeli soldiers at the nearby Kerem Shalom border crossing, a critical point for aid entry into Gaza.

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