LONDON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The human rights group Amnesty International said Israel attacks on four high-rise Gaza buildings during the summer war amounted to war crimes.
The London-based organization, in a report released Monday, said the August aerial attacks in the last days of the 50-day war "were in contravention of international humanitarian law" and called for the incident to be "independently and impartially investigated." It said the destroyed buildings included private residences, a shopping mall, offices and a medical clinic.
The group noted no one was killed in the attacks because the Israeli military warned of the impending bombing, but many in the neighborhood were injured by debris.
Amnesty International's Phillip Luther said the destruction "was carried out deliberately and with no military justification."
"Both the facts on the ground and statements made by Israeli military spokespeople at the time indicate that the attacks were a collective punishment against the people of Gaza and were designed to destroy their already precarious livelihoods. Even if the Israeli authorities had good reason to believe that a part of a building was being used for military purposes, they had an obligation to choose means and methods of attack that would minimize harm to civilians and their property. The Israeli army have previously conducted air strikes on specific apartments in high-rise buildings without their complete destruction."
In response, a statement Tuesday from the Israeli Embassy in London suggested Amnesty International should instead investigate Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.