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Israel ‘does not commit war crimes’: PM

Hamas saluted ‘condemnation’ of Israel in the U.N. report released on last summer's conflict in Gaza

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Monday that Israel “does not commit war crimes” after publication of a U.N. report alleging both sides may be guilty of such acts in last summer’s Gaza war, Agence France-Presse reported.

“Israel defends itself against a terror organization which calls for its destruction and that itself carries out war crimes,” Netanyahu said in a statement, referring to Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Hamas saluted “condemnation” of Israel in a U.N. report on last summer's conflict in the Gaza Strip that found both sides may have committed war crimes.

“Hamas welcomes the report's condemnation of the Zionist occupier for its war crimes during the last war against Gaza,” said Fawzi Barhum, a spokesman for the Islamist movement that rules the Palestinian enclave.

War crimes

But Hamas condemned the report for stating its fighters may also have committed war crimes during the conflict last summer, according to the Associated Press.

Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said that its rockets and mortars were aimed at Israeli military sites, not at civilians.

The much-awaited U.N. report into the 2014 Gaza war found both Israel and Palestinian militant groups might have committed war crimes during the conflict.

The report decried the “huge firepower” used in Gaza, with Israel launching more than 6,000 airstrikes and firing 50,000 artillery shells during the 51-day operation.

It also criticized the “indiscriminate” firing of thousands of rockets and mortar rounds at Israel, which it said appeared to be have been intended to “spread terror” among Israeli civilians.

[With AFP and AP]