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Human Rights Watch accuses Hamas of war crimes

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Human Rights Watch accuses Hamas of war crimes
People watch as Hamas militants parade during an anti-Israel rally in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 28. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Rockets launched by Hamas into Israel earlier this year killed and injured civilians in Israel and Gaza, Human Rights Watch said Thursday, accusing the militant group of war crimes.

The New York City-based non-governmental organization said the rocket fire in May killed 12 and injured dozens of Israeli civilians. Munitions that misfired and fell short in Gaza also killed and injured an indeterminate number of Palestinians.

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A separate Palestinian rocket attack that misfired over the city of Jabalya in the Gaza Strip killed seven Palestinian civilians and injured 15.

"Palestinian armed groups during the May fighting flagrantly violated the laws-of-war prohibition on indiscriminate attacks by launching thousands of unguided rockets towards Israeli cities," said Eric Goldstein, acting Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The failure of both Hamas authorities and the Israeli government to provide accountability for alleged war crimes by their forces highlights the essential role of the International Criminal Court."

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Last month, HRW also accused Israel of committing war crimes during the 11 days of fighting in May. The group said three Israeli strikes, which killed 62 Palestinian civilians, amounted to war crimes because there were no military targets in the vicinity.

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The HRW also called on the ICC to investigate the Israeli attacks.

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.

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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.

Clyde Hughes contributed to this report.

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