Israel’s attacks on Gaza may constitute ‘war crimes’: UN rights chief

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Geneva

Israel’s recent barrage of deadly air strikes on Gaza might be war crimes, the UN rights chief said on Thursday, adding she had seen no evidence the attacked buildings were used for military purposes.

She was addressing a special session of the UN Human Rights Council, held at the request of Muslim states who have asked for a UN commission of inquiry to investigate possible crimes and to establish command responsibility.

Michelle Bachelet voiced deep concern about the surge in deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians earlier this month.

“Although Israel undertook a number of precautions, such as advance warning of attacks in some cases, air strikes in such densely populated areas resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries, as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

“If found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians and civilian objects, such attacks may constitute war crimes.”—Agencies