July 11, 1948: after the Israeli 89th Commando Battalion lead by Moshe Dayan occupied Lydda, the Israelis told Arabs through loudspeakers that if they went into a certain mosque they would be safe. In retaliation for a hand grenade attack after the surrender that killed several Israeli soldiers, 80-100 Palestinians were massacred in the mosque, their bodies lay decomposing for 10 days in the mid-summer heat. The mosque still stands abandoned today. This massacre spread fear and panic among the Arab population of Lydda and Ramle, who were then ordered to march out of these towns after they were stripped of all personal belonging by Israeli soldiers. Yetzak Rabin, Brigade Commander then says: – There was no way of avoiding the use of force and warning shots in order to make the inhabitants march ten to fifteen miles to the point where they met up with the legion-. Most of the 60,000 inhabitants of Lyda and Ramble came to refugee camps near Ramallah, around 350 lost their lives on the way through dehydration and sun stroke. Many survived by drinking their own urine. The conditions in the refugee camps were to claim more lives.
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