Watchdog says Israel guilty of war crimes during fighting with Hamas

Hamas militants parade through Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip during an anti-Israel rally on May 28. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

July 27 (UPI) -- A report Tuesday by watchdog Human Rights Watch says Israel likely committed war crimes during 11 days of fighting with Hamas in May in Gaza.

Egypt helped negotiate a cease-fire to end the fighting after an Israeli bombing campaign killed more than 230 people. At least 12 people in Israel were killed by retaliatory Hamas rocket fire.


Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that three Israeli strikes, which killed 62 Palestinian civilians, amount to war crimes because there were no military targets in the vicinity.

"Israeli forces carried out attacks in Gaza in May that devastated entire families without any apparent military target nearby," Gerry Simpson, associate crisis and conflict director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement

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"Israeli authorities' consistent unwillingness to seriously investigate alleged war crimes, as well as Palestinian forces' rocket attacks toward Israeli population centers, underscores the importance of the International Criminal Court's inquiry."

Human Rights Watch called on the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court to investigate those responsible for the civilian deaths.

"The prosecutor's office should include in its Palestine investigation Israeli attacks in Gaza that resulted in apparently unlawful civilian casualties, as well as Palestinian rocket attacks that struck population centers in Israel," it said.

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The Gaza Health Ministry blamed Israeli forces for almost 2,000 Palestinian injuries during the fighting, including 600 children. Israel said the Palestinian attacks injured "several hundred" people.

The HRW report also noted that 4,400 Palestinian rockets fired into Israeli-populated centers similarly violated a prohibition against deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians.

The watchdog said it will publish separate report on Palestinian fighting.

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