Amnesty urges ICC probes of possible Gaza war crimes

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Amnesty International on Tuesday called for an International Criminal Court (ICC) probe into possible war crimes committed in August by both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants during deadly fighting in Gaza.

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Thirty-one civilians were among the 49 Palestinians killed in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip during the three-day conflict, the global rights group said in a new report.

The London-based organization pressed the ICC to “urgently investigate any apparent war crimes committed during the August 2022 Israeli offensive” in the Palestinian enclave.

“Amnesty International has collected and analyzed new evidence of unlawful attacks, including possible war crimes, committed by both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups,” it said.

The report detailed a strike that hit the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, killing seven civilians.

The bombing was “likely to have been caused by a rocket launched by Palestinian armed groups that misfired”, Amnesty said.

Fighting began on August 5 when Israel targeted the Islamic Jihad militant group in what it said were pre-emptive strikes to avert attacks.

The Palestinian organization responded with barrages of rocket fire that did not result in any Israeli casualties.

Amnesty’s research found that an attack in which five children were killed at a cemetery “was likely to have been carried out by an Israeli guided missile fired by a drone.”

A third incident Amnesty said may amount to a war crime was Israeli tank fire on a house in the southern Khan Yunis area, which killed one civilian.

The International Criminal Court has opened an investigation into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, expected to focus in part on possible war crimes committed during the 2014 conflict in Gaza.

The probe is supported by the Palestinian Authority, but Israel is not an ICC member and disputes its jurisdiction.

The violence in August was preceded by four wars between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since 2008.

The Palestinian enclave has been under a crippling Israeli-led blockade since 2007, imposed after Hamas took control of the territory.

Hamas said its militants did not participate in the August conflict.

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