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UN: deaths of civilians in Israeli action to find hostages could be war crimes

The UN human rights office said on Tuesday (11) that the killings of civilians in Gaza during the Israeli operation to free four hostages, as well as the detention of prisoners of Palestinian armed groups in densely populated areas, could be considered crimes. of war.

Israel said the operation, accompanied by an air strike, took place on Saturday (8) in the heart of a residential neighborhood in the central Nuseirat area of ​​Gaza, where Hamas held hostages in two separate apartment blocks.

The operation killed more than 270 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials.

“The manner in which the attack was conducted in such a densely populated area seriously calls into question whether the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution – as established by the laws of war – were respected by Israeli forces” Jeremy Laurence, spokesman for the office of UN human rights. he said.

Laurence added that the detention of hostages in areas so densely populated by Palestinian armed groups was “putting the lives of Palestinian civilians, as well as the hostages themselves, at additional risk from hostilities.”

“All of these actions, by both parties, could amount to war crimes,” he said.

In response to the statement, Israel’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva accused the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of “defaming Israel.”

“The price of this war against civilians is, first and foremost, the product of Hamas’ deliberate strategy to maximize civilian harm,” the mission said.

The conflict in Gaza was triggered when Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7 and killed around 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures. Israel’s subsequent bombing and invasion of Gaza killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to health officials in the Hamas-led enclave.

Gunmen took around 250 hostages back to Gaza on October 7. More than 100 of them were released in exchange for around 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons during a week-long truce in November.

There are 116 hostages in Gaza, according to Israeli calculations, including at least 40 who Israeli authorities declared dead in absentia.

Source: CNN Brasil

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