Amnesty International on Thursday condemned militant groups in Palestine for killing Israeli and Palestinian civilians and committing war crimes during the Gaza conflict last year. According to Amnesty's latest report, the armed groups killed several civilians when they launched indiscriminate rockets and mortars even as the use of such missiles is prohibited under international law.
The report also details several instances where the Palestine groups committed atrocities during the 50-day conflict. In one of the attacks, six Israeli civilians, including a 4-year-old boy, were killed. In another attack, a projectile was fired from the Gaza Strip on to al-Shati refugee camp, which killed 13 Palestine civilians, of whom 11 were children, the report said. While Palestine militants claimed the Israeli military was responsible for the attack, Amnesty, which cited an independent ammunitions expert, said that a Palestinian rocket had hit the refugees.
Last year, Amnesty had issued two reports and had accused Israel of war crimes for targeting buildings and residential homes owned by Palestinians.
“Palestinian groups must end all direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks,” Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Amnesty International, said in a statement, adding: “They must also take all feasible precautions to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip from the effects of such attacks. This includes taking all possible measures to avoid locating fighters and arms within or near densely populated areas.”
The report also claimed that some rockets were even fired from civilian localities, which include schools, at least one hospital and a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City.
“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,” Luther said in the statement.
A Hamas spokesman dismissed the report from Amnesty, calling it “full of lies” and “based on the Israeli narrative,” the New York Times reported.
According to estimates by the United Nations, over 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, died during the conflict, while 66 soldiers and six civilians died in Israel, the Associated Press reported.