Mass Burning and Burial of Egyptian Soldiers in Israel Revealed After 55 Years

Mass Burning and Burial of Egyptian Soldiers in Israel Revealed After 55 Years

Image Credit: Britannica

In a thread on Twitter, Israeli journalist Yossi Melman revealed the details of an incident in the 1967 War, in which, according to his account, at least 20 Egyptian soldiers were burned alive and buried in a mass grave by soldiers from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

The tweets, which Melman published on 8 June, cite files that saw the light after 55 years of being classified, and the story “hushed up” by the IDF. While he puts the figure at a minimum of 20, other sources – including a report from Israeli newspaper Haaretz – estimate a number as high as 80 unidentified, unmarked, buried casualties.

Melman details that the massacre took place in a no-man’s land in the West Bank, where two Egyptian battalions were deployed to raid the city of Lod and nearby airfields. After an exchange of gunfire between the Egyptian soldiers and the IDF along with members of the Nahshon Kibbutz, a communal settlement in the area, where a number of Egyptian soldiers were captured. Subsequently the IDF set fire to wild bushes, which in the dry and hot weather of the time spread rapidly, giving the soldiers “no chance to escape”.

Following the live burning of the Egyptian soldiers, IDF soldiers came to the scene with bulldozers, constructing a mass grave in which they threw the bodies of the Egyptian soldiers without marking the grave.

Today, a park by the name of ‘Mini Israel’ is built over the site of the atrocity.

Zeen Bloch, a member of the Nahshon Kibbutz who was present at the scene, told Melman that the members of the Kibbutz watched as the IDF “looted personal belongings and left the mass grave unmarked.”

On its own, the burial in unmarked burial sites without notifying the International Committee of the Red Cross is a breach of the fourth Geneva Conventions regulating the laws of war. However, unless there is further investigation, it may not become clear whether this was the only war crime committed that day.

The Ha’aretz report suggests that prohibited phosphorus shells may have been used to start the fire that killed the Egyptian soldiers, and questions are raised as to the state of the Egyptian fighters at the time of their killing; the Fourth Geneva Convention bars killing soldiers who are out of the fight by reason of injury or surrender.

“The veil of silence suited everybody,” says Bloch. “The few who knew didn’t want to talk about it. We were ashamed. But above all it was [an] IDF decision in the heat of the war.”

‘Absolute Scarcity’: A Look Into Egypt’s Turbulent Water Crisis
Ons Jabeur Makes History, Becomes First North African And Arab Woman to Reach a Grand Slam Final

Subscribe to our newsletter


Senior Editor at Egyptian Streets and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo. Holds a master's degree in Global Journalism from the University of Sheffield, where she wrote a dissertation about the effect of disinformation on the profession of journalism. Passionate about music, story-telling, baking, social justice, and taking care of her plants. "If you smell something, say something." -Jon Stewart, 2015

More in News

Egypt's Central Bank in Cairo courtesy of Reuters

Central Bank of Egypt Raises Key Interest Rates by 2%

Amina Zaineldine30 March 2023

Egypt’s Former Ministry of Interior to be Turned into a Hotel

Dina Khadr30 March 2023

Egypt Joins New Development Bank to Find Alternative Forms of Finance

Egyptian Streets30 March 2023

Egypt Introduces New Measures for Visas to Increase Tourism

Egyptian Streets29 March 2023

Egypt’s Public Prosecution Gives Temporary Custody to Baby Shenouda’s Adoptive Family

Farah Rafik29 March 2023

Egypt Defeats Malawi 4-0 in 2023 African Cup Qualifiers

Marina Makary28 March 2023

Egypt to Get Its Very Own Fashion Week For the First Time

Egyptian Streets26 March 2023

Egypt Defeats Malawi 2-0 in Qualifiers for Africa Cup of Nations

Farah Rafik25 March 2023