Thursday, 11 September 2014

Human Rights Watch says Israel likely to have committed Gaza war crimes


Israel is likely to have committed war crimes in Gaza, Human Rights Watch said Thursday, a day after the army announced five criminal investigations into incidents involving its forces.

The 50-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas militants ended on Aug. 26 after killing more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, 67 of them soldiers.

The New York-based rights watchdog said in a statement that in three cases it examined, Israel caused "numerous civilian casualties in violation of the laws of war."

The incidents were the separate shellings of two UN schools in northern Gaza on July 24 and 30, and a guided missile strike on another UN school in the southern city of Rafah on August 3.

The attacks killed a total of 45 people including 17 children, HRW said.

"Two of the three attacks Human Rights Watch investigated... did not appear to target a military objective or were otherwise unlawfully indiscriminate. The third attack in Rafah was unlawfully disproportionate if not otherwise indiscriminate."

"Unlawful attacks carried out willfully -- that is, deliberately or recklessly -- are war crimes," it said. more

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