Amnesty says Gazan militants committed war crimes

AP News
|
Posted: Mar 26, 2015 6:24 AM
Amnesty says Gazan militants committed war crimes

JERUSALEM (AP) — The human rights group Amnesty International said in a report Thursday that Palestinian militants committed war crimes during the 2014 Gaza conflict by killing both Israeli and Palestinian civilians using indiscriminate projectiles.

The report comes after two other reports issued in late 2014 that accused Israel of war crimes for attacks on multistory civilian buildings and Palestinian homes during the war.

The 50-day Gaza war left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians, according to Palestinian and U.N. officials. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

Palestinian militants, including the armed wing of Hamas, launched unguided rockets and mortars from civilian areas toward other civilian areas, a breach of international law, the human rights group said.

Six civilians in Israel were killed in such attacks, and 13 Palestinian civilians were killed when a Palestinian projectile apparently landed in a Gaza refugee camp.

Palestinians have claimed that the Israeli military was responsible for that attack, but Amnesty International said an independent munitions expert examining the evidence on the group's behalf concluded that a Palestinian rocket was responsible.

The report also alleged other international humanitarian law violations during the conflict, including Palestinian militant groups' storing munitions in civilian buildings and United Nations schools, and launching attacks near locations where hundreds of displaced civilians were taking shelter.

"The devastating impact of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians during the conflict is undeniable, but violations by one side in a conflict can never justify violations by their opponents," said Philip Luther of Amnesty International.

Luther called on both Israeli and Palestinian authorities to cooperate with U.N. and International Criminal Court probes "to end decades of impunity that have perpetuated a cycle of violations in which civilians on both sides have paid a heavy price."

Hamas official Taher al-Nounou denied the allegations in the Amnesty report, saying it relied on the Israeli narrative. He said Hamas did not target civilians.