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Gaza families wear ID bracelets to avoid burial in mass graves

With so many bodies, Palestinians in Gaza are burying the unidentified dead in mass graves, with a number instead of a name, residents say. Now some families are using bracelets in the hope of finding their loved ones should they be killed.

The El-Daba family has tried to reduce the risk of being struck down during the heaviest-ever Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

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Israel launched the air strikes after Hamas fighters attacked Israeli towns on Oct 7.

Ali El-Daba, 40, said he had seen bodies ripped apart by the bombing and were unrecognisable.

He said he decided to divide his family to prevent them from all dying in a single strike. He said his wife Lina, 42, kept two of their sons and two daughters in Gaza City in the north and he moved to Khan Younis in the south with three other children.

El-Daba said he was preparing for the worst. He bought blue string bracelets for his family members and tied them around both wrists. "If something happens," he said, "this way I will recognise them."

Other Palestinian families were also buying or making bracelets for their children or writing their names on their arms.

Mass burials have been authorized by local Muslim clerics. Before burial, medics keep pictures and blood samples of the dead and give them numbers.

The Israeli military has told people to leave the north of the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely-populated places in the world, and head south because it is safer. But air strikes have hit across Gaza.

Israel's military intensified its bombing of southern Gaza overnight. World leaders have called for a halt to fighting to allow aid into the besieged enclave, which is running out of water, food, fuel and medicines.

A total of 756 Palestinians, including 344 children, were killed in the past 24 hours, Gaza's health ministry said today. It said at least 6,546 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli bombardment since Oct. 7, including 2,704 children.