Israeli strikes on Gaza may be war crimes: UN

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Thursday Israel might have committed a war crime as it pummeled Gaza.

Bachelet said her office had verified the deaths of 270 Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including 68 children, during violence this month. Most were killed in Hamas-controlled Gaza, where Israel fought the group for 11 days. The conflict ended with a ceasefire.

She was addressing a special session of the UN Human Rights Council, held at the request of Muslim states who have asked for a UN commission of inquiry to investigate possible crimes and to establish command responsibility.

Bachelet said “indiscriminate” strikes from rockets launched by Hamas constituted “a clear violation of international humanitarian law”.

She said Israel’s strikes in Gaza, including shelling, missile strikes and attacks from the sea, caused widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and fatalities.

“Despite Israel’s claims that many of these buildings were hosting armed groups or being used for military purposes, we have not seen evidence in this regard,” Bachelet said.

“If found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate, such attacks might constitute war crimes,” she added.

 

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