Israel Palestine Conflict

Palestinian groups ask war crimes court to investigate accusations against Israel

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Three Palestinian human rights groups said they have asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel, accusing it of committing war crimes including genocide by bombing and besieging Gaza.

Israel - which is not a member of the Hague-based court and does not recognize its jurisdiction - did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Asked for comment, a spokesperson for Israel’s foreign ministry said: “Israel is also collecting evidence for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack (on Israel) and afterwards, including the use of civilians as human shields (in Gaza).”

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It has previously said allegations of genocide are deplorable and that its actions target Hamas militants, not civilians.

The three rights groups - Al Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestine Human Rights Campaign - said they had asked the ICC to focus on Israeli air strikes on densely populated civilian areas in Gaza, the siege of the territory and the displacement of the population.

“These actions amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide and incitement to genocide,” they said in a joint press statement.

The ICC said on Friday it had received a communication from the three groups and would assess the information, without going into detail on its contents.

Israel unleashed its assault on Gaza in response to a cross-border Hamas raid on southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which gunmen killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Palestinian officials say Israel’s actions in Gaza have since killed more than 10,000 people.

The ICC can investigate nationals of non-member states in certain circumstances, including when crimes are said to have been committed in the territories of member states. The Palestinian territories are listed among the ICC’s members.

Last week, families of Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks also filed papers at the ICC urging the court to look into Hamas crimes.

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