Israel’s actions during hostage rescue may amount to war crimes, UN agency says

In World

United Nation human rights officials said they were “profoundly shocked” by the Israeli operation that freed four hostages in central Gaza over the weekend, adding that actions by both Israel and Hamas “may amount to war crimes.”

“The manner in which the raid was conducted in such a densely populated area seriously calls into question whether the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution — as set out under the laws of war — were respected by the Israeli forces,” the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, or OHCHR, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The rescue operation in a refugee camp in Nuseirat killed as many as 274 people, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Monday. Hundreds of others were injured, the ministry said. Many of those injured and killed were Palestinian civilians, OHCHR said on Tuesday.

But OHCHR also said it was “deeply distressed” about the way the militant groups continue to hold hostages, “most of them civilians, which is prohibited by international law.”

By holding those hostages in densely populated areas, Hamas militants are putting civilians and the hostages at risk, the agency said.

“All these actions, by both parties, may amount to war crimes,” OHCHR said.

-ABC News’ Joe Simonetti and Kevin Shalvey

Read More: Israel’s actions during hostage rescue may amount to war crimes, UN agency says

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