UN Warns Of Ethnic Cleansing As Refugee Shelters Overflow In Gaza, And Israel Warns Of New Phase Of War

Gaza Refugees Palestine

UN human rights experts warned on Saturday: Palestinians in Gaza face mass ethnic cleansing as Israel orders half the population of the densely populated strip to evacuate amid continued aerial bombardment and dwindling resources on the ground.

“In the name of self-defense, Israel is seeking to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing,” UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese said, noting that “Israel has already carried out mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinian under the fog of war.”

“There is a grave danger that what we are witnessing may be a repeat of the 1948 Nakba, and the 1967 Naksa, yet on a larger scale,” she warned, referring to Israel’s mass expulsions of at least 1 million Palestinians from their homes and land in 1947-48 and 1967. She said: “the international community must do everything to stop this from happening.”

The UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees warned on Saturday that its shelters in Gaza “are not safe anymore,” adding that the area’s 2.3 million residents were rapidly running out of water. Israel shut off electricity to Gaza following Hamas’ attack last Saturday, compounding the humanitarian crisis in the territory, which has been under an illegal blockade since 2007. 

The UN on Friday warned that Israel’s evacuation order targeting the 1.1 million Palestinians living in northern Gaza would create a “humanitarian catastrophe” amount to a certain “death sentence” for the sick and hospitalized, given the hospital system is already barely operational and several have been bombed.

“Moving more than one million people across a densely populated warzone to a place with no food, water, or accommodation, when the entire territory is under siege, is extremely dangerous – and in some cases, simply not possible,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told reporters on Friday ahead of a meeting with the Security Council.  

Urging the government to rescind the order, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Paula Gaviria Betancur explained that “forcible population transfers constitute a crime against humanity, and collective punishment is prohibited under international law.”

“The order to evacuate 1.1 million people from northern Gaza defies the rules of war and basic humanity,” wrote Martin Griffiths, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in a statement late Friday. “Roads and homes have been reduced to rubble. There is nowhere safe to go.”

On Thursday, Israel ordered the population of northern Gaza to move to the south in order to “save their lives.” The entire territory remains blockaded, with the exit via Egypt closed since Tuesday due to ongoing Israeli airstrikes. 

Following Hamas’ attack on Israel last weekend, which left some 1,300 Israelis dead, Israel has targeted Gaza with the most intense bombing campaign in its history, killing upwards of 1,900 Palestinians and injuring over 7,600 more, according to local health officials. According to the UN, over 423,000 people have been displaced in the last week.

Israel Warns Of New Phase In War On Hamas

A CNN report said:

A new phase in Israel’s deadly war against Hamas is coming, Israeli forces said on Saturday, warning that the past week of crippling airstrikes in Gaza could soon be followed by “significant ground operations.”

Israeli troops and military equipment have massed at the border with Gaza as Israel prepares to ramp up its response to a deadly October 7 attack by the Islamist militant group Hamas, which controls the enclave. Warplanes continued to blast Gaza over the weekend, as civilians fled southward, following repeated evacuation instructions by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Several UN agencies have warned that mass evacuation under such siege conditions will lead to disaster, and that the most vulnerable Gazans, including the elderly and pregnant, may not be able to relocate at all.

Israel also cut off the general population’s access to electricity, food and water earlier this week, a move that medical aid group Doctors Without Borders is causing cases of severe hydration.

The IDF said Saturday it would allow people to move south “for their own safety” on specified streets of Gaza during a six-hour window, but it was unclear how widely the messaging was received on the ground, given the widespread electricity and internet blackout, or how safe passage would be.

Following an apparent explosion on Friday, extensive destruction could be seen on Salah Al-Deen street – a main route for evacuation – in videos authenticated by CNN. A number of bodies, including those of children, can be seen on a flat-bed trailer that appears to have been used to carry people away from Gaza City.

It is unclear what caused the blast. CNN has reached out to the IDF for comment on any airstrikes in the same location.

Israeli military airstrikes have killed 70 evacuees and injured 200 more since the first evacuation order was issued Friday, Hamas’ media office told CNN. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Interior and National Security, Palestinian medical services and civil defense crews were targeted by an Israeli strike at the site of a rescue operation in northern Gaza on Saturday.

The IDF said Saturday that its fighter jets had struck operational headquarters used by Hamas militants, killing the head of the Hamas Aerial System in Gaza City, who the military claimed was “largely responsible for directing terrorists” during last week’s attack on Israel.

The IDF has said that it targets locations associated with Hamas in the densely-packed enclave, and that Hamas leaders have already taken measures to protect themselves from airstrikes.

Health Workers Refuse To Evacuate

The CNN report said:

Images from Gaza have shown a mass rush toward the south of the coastal enclave beginning Friday.

Civilians crammed into cars, taxis, pickup trucks and even donkey-pulled carts. Roads were filled with snaking lines of vehicles strapped with suitcases and mattresses. Those without other options walked, carrying what they could.

But not all are leaving. Some have stayed put in their homes, telling CNN they feel nowhere is secure. Many others cannot be evacuated due to medical conditions, health workers say.

Several healthcare facilities in the north of Gaza and Gaza City say they will not comply with Israel’s evacuation announcement, which the World Health Organization has described as a “death sentence” for patients.

“We are not willing to evacuate because we do not have the means to evacuate our patients. We have around 300 patients at the hospital. Some of them are in the intensive care unit. We have children in incubators. We cannot evacuate them,” Red Crescent Society spokesperson Nebal Farsakh told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Saturday. The group operates a hospital in Gaza City.

“We call on the international community for immediate action to stop a humanitarian catastrophe that is unfolding if Israel is going to implement the ground incursion,” Farsakh added.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, echoed the sentiment in a statement.

“We will not leave the hospitals even if they are demolished over our heads,” Al Qidra said, adding, “Our moral stance requires us to continue our work.”

Border Crossing ‘Is Not Open’

The CNN report said:

The Rafah border crossing, which connects Gaza with Egypt and is the only passage not controlled by Israel, could offer a sliver of hope for humanitarian aid eventually entering the territory, as well as for foreign nationals desperate to flee.

But the crossing appeared closed on Saturday when Palestinian-Americans gathered there at the suggestion of the US State Department.

“People are waiting at the Rafah crossing point but it is not open and there is no clear direction from the embassy,” said Mai Abushaaban, a 22-year-old from Houston who is in contact with her family at the border.

“They told everybody to be here at 12, it has been two hours almost, nobody showed up, nobody is here to open the gates.” Haneen Okal, a New Jersey resident, waiting with her three children, said.

CNN has reached out to the U.S. State Department and the US National Security Council for comment.

Canada

Canada had an agreement with Israel to get its citizens out of Gaza, but “there was violence around the Rafah Crossing and therefore the operation had to be canceled,” Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mélanie Joly, said.

Egypt

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Saturday said foreign nationals would be allowed to cross if protocols were followed on the Gaza side.

He also said Israeli aerial bombardment had rendered roads on the Gaza side of the crossing “inoperable.”

“The Rafah crossing officially is open on the Egyptian side, it has been open all along. The problem with the roads is that it has been subject to aerial bombardment. Therefore, on the Gaza side the roads are not in a state that can receive the transit of vehicles,” Shoukry told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Egypt has tried to ship humanitarian aid to Gaza but has not received the clearance to do so, he added.

Jordan

A senior Jordanian official told CNN earlier this week that both countries were awaiting assurance that aid trucks would not be targeted by Israeli airstrikes.

More than 2 million Palestinians – including over a million children – live in the 140-square-mile Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places on Earth.

The territory has been under a land, sea and air blockade enforced by Israel since 2007, with more than half its residents living below the poverty line even before the latest conflict.

A Week Of Bloodshed

The CNN report added:

Saturday morning marked one week since Hamas’ unprecedented and bloody attack on Israel, which killed more than 1,300 people and led to the capture of civilian and military hostages now believed to be held in Gaza.

The surprise attack, widely described as Israel’s 9/11, saw waves of heavily armed Hamas fighters rampage through rural Israeli towns, kibbutzim and army bases.

In response, Israel ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza, including blocking food, water and fuel to the general population, while mounting its heaviest ever airstrikes on the enclave. International observers warn the cutoff will see Gaza civilians die by starvation, disease and lack of medical care for the growing numbers of dying and wounded.

Over 2200 Palestinians Killed

The report said:

At least 2,215 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza from Israeli strikes, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in an update Saturday. That toll includes 724 children.

One overwhelmed hospital in Gaza told CNN that it had resorted to using ice cream trucks from local factories as makeshift morgues due to overflowing hospital mortuaries.

Even before the evacuation warning, more than 400,000 Palestinians had already been forced to flee their homes due to airstrikes.

Fear Of Regional Conflict

The CNN report said:

There are fears that the violence could spill over into a regional conflict.

Hostilities erupted on Saturday between Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and IDF forces in the disputed Shebaa farms, near the Israel-Lebanon border. Israel said it returned fire after Hezbollah launched an attack on the territory.

Air Aggression: Syria

Syria’s military also alleged late Saturday local time that an “air aggression” by Israel had damaged Aleppo International Airport, rendering it non-operational.

Far-reaching Consequence: Iran

Iran has warned of “far-reaching consequences” if Israel does not stop its attacks on Gaza, in a statement released as Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar.

“If the Israeli apartheid’s war crimes and genocide are not halted immediately, the situation could spiral out of control & ricochet far-reaching consequences,” the Iranian mission to the United Nations said.

U.S.

The U.S. is taking measures to deter any action by Iran and Iranian proxies in the region like Hezbollah. On Saturday, the Pentagon has ordered a second carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, according to two US officials.

A first carrier strike group, led by the USS Gerald R. Ford, arrived off the coast of Israel earlier this week. It will be joined by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower strike group.

The Biden administration has emphasized that the carrier, and its accompanying force, are not there to engage in combat activities on behalf of Israel.

IDF Denies Striking Gaza Evacuation Convoys ‘On Purpose’

A media report said:

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has denied allegations that its airstrikes might have killed dozens of civilians who were trying to flee Gaza, arguing that any information coming from the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave should be treated with “extreme caution and suspicion” because it serves their “propaganda purpose.”

While not completely ruling out the possibility of a “freak accident” on behalf of the Israeli forces, IDF spokesperson Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus insisted on Sunday that “there was no targeting of vehicles, there was no targeting of civilians” in at least one of the areas where dozens of people were injured and killed on Friday.

The spokesman demonstrated a video showing cars driving down Salah al-Din road, following an Israeli evacuation order, before an explosion rocks one of the vehicles.

“I am not a forensic expert, I would not be able to say if this is a roadside IED or if this is a strike from above. But what I am able to say with confidence, because we have asked, is that the IDF did not purposely strike in that area,” Conricus said.

Health officials in the Hamas-governed Palestinian enclave claimed on Friday that Israeli airstrikes hit civilian cars in three separate locations, allegedly killing 70 people, and injuring up to 150 others

However, the IDF spokesman insisted that “when the so-called Gaza Ministry of Health issues information about the amount of people killed, if they were armed or not, if they were women or children, obviously that information is authorized by Hama, and serves its propaganda purposes.”

The IDF spokesman went on to argue that it “makes no sense for the IDF to have done it,” specifically “because we wanted people to go south.”

“Who would want to stop those same civilians – the same organization that did the roadblock,” he claimed. “Hamas has both issued warnings to their civilians not to evacuate and when people did not listen to those warnings of Hamas they have actually stopped civilians.”

“Again, this is not conclusive,” the spokesman admitted. “What is conclusive is that we for sure did not strike on purpose. It may have been some kind of a freak accident, which I doubt.”

On Thursday, Israel ordered the population of northern Gaza to move to the south in order to “save their lives,” and distance themselves from the militants ahead of a looming ground offensive.The entire territory remains blockaded, with the exit via Egypt closed since Tuesday due to ongoing Israeli airstrikes. 

IDF Strikes Hit Gaza Evacuation Convoys, Sys Hamas

An earlier report said:

Dozens of people, mostly women and children, have been injured and killed in Israeli airstrikes on evacuation convoys fleeing Gaza City, according to Hamas officials. The UN humanitarian body, OCHA, said several “vehicles of those evacuating the north were hit, killing more than 40 people and injuring 150 others,” citing data from health officials in the Hamas-governed Palestinian enclave.

“These incidents prompted many people to abandon their evacuation efforts and return home,” the UN agency added, as “heavy Israeli bombardments, from the air, sea and land, have continued almost uninterrupted.”

Hamas’ media office claimed on Friday that airstrikes hit civilian cars in three separate locations, allegedly killing 70 people.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that Al-Shifa Medical Complex was treating “dozens of victims” injured  “as a result of the Israeli occupation forces targeting citizens who were forced to leave their homes.”

The IDF called the evacuation order a “humanitarian step,” claiming that the residents would be able to return to Gaza City after Hamas militants were eradicated.

Israel has faced widespread criticism from human rights organizations for the forced relocation order, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging West Jerusalem to reconsider it, insisting that “wars have rules” and telling all sides to respect international humanitarian norms.

WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) also appealed to Israel to “immediately rescind orders for the evacuation of over 1 million people living north of Wadi Gaza,” saying that a “mass evacuation would be disastrous – for patients, health workers and other civilians left behind or caught in the mass movement.”

“With ongoing airstrikes and closed borders, civilians have no safe place to go,” the WHO said on Friday.

Reuters Journalist Killed By Israeli Fire

A Reuters videographer has been killed in southern Lebanon, the news agency said on Friday. Six other journalists were injured in the incident. The group was hit by Israeli artillery, Al Jazeera and Lebanese security sources said.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that our videographer Issam Abdallah, has been killed, “ Reuters said in a statement. Abdallah was providing a live video feed from near the Israeli border at the time of his death, the agency continued, adding that it is “urgently seeking more information” from authorities in the region.

Reuters journalists Thaier Al-Sudani and Maher Nazeh were wounded in the same incident, while Al Jazeera’s Elie Brakhya and Carmen Joukhadar and Agence France-Presse’s Christina Assi and Dylan Collins were also injured. It is unclear whether all six were hit by the same shell or by different projectiles.

A Lebanese security source told AFP that Israeli forces were responsible, and Al Jazeera blamed the incident on “Israeli bombing.”

Around the time of the incident, the IDF said that its troops were responding with tank and artillery fire to shooting from Lebanese territory. 

Earlier on Friday, the IDF said that an explosion had occurred at a barrier along the border near Alma al-Shaab, a Lebanese village where the news crews were reporting from. The IDF said that its forces responded to the explosion with artillery fire.

Till Now 11 Journalists Killed

Abdallah’s death brings the number of journalists killed since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Saturday to 11, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Of the other ten, nine died in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, while one Israeli photographer was killed by Hamas militants at Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel.

Israel’s First Ground Raids Into Gaza

Other media reports said:

The IDF sent tanks and foot soldiers into Gaza on Friday to conduct what it called “localized raids” ahead of a likely invasion of the Palestinian enclave, in an effort to locate some of the people taken hostage by Hamas militants.

IDF forces carried out several raids into Gaza in order to  “cleanse the area of terrorists and weapons” while making “an effort to locate missing people,” according to the IDF account on X (formerly Twitter).

“Infantry and armored forces searched and gathered in the area for findings that may help in the effort to locate the missing and thwarted terrorist infrastructure and terrorists cells in the area,” the Israeli military stated.

IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari also said the raids targeted “anti-tank guided missile squads that intended to infiltrate into Israeli territory.”

The forward units reported “discoveries” of missing Israelis near the border, prompting a decision to send in a larger force under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Shimon Putrabani, according to the Jerusalem Post. After the brigade surrounded the location, bodies were collected from and transported to Israeli territory, the newspaper reported.

Hostage

Dozens of Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage, with the IDF saying it had contacted 120 families of those missing.

Israel’s Use Of White Phosphorus Verified, Says Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported having verified videos of Israel deploying controversial white phosphorus munitions, including over Gaza City, amid the ongoing confrontation with Hamas. The substance produces an incendiary effect and when discharged over densely populated areas risks indiscriminate harm to civilians.

The Israeli military fired 155mm airburst artillery shells over Gaza’s port on Wednesday and over two rural locations in the border area of Lebanon on Tuesday, the international organization reported on Thursday. It analyzed video footage of the incidents and interviewed witnesses to confirm the nature of the weapons used. The deployment of white phosphorus in Gaza is of particular concern, since it puts civilians in the area at risk, the watchdog noted.

“Any time that white phosphorous is used in crowdwd civilian areas, it poses a high risk of excruciating burns and lifelong suffering,” said Lama Fakih, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“White phosphorous is unlawfully indiscriminate when airburst in populated urban areas, where it can burn down houses and cause egregious harm to civilians, she added.

The compound ignites on contact with oxygen in the air, producing foul-smelling dense smoke. Munitions with white phosphorus can be used for signaling or to produce a smoke screen.

A person caught under a burst can suffer deep chemical and thermal burns, while the white phosphorus can enter the bloodstream and produce debilitating scars, HRW stressed. Injuries also tend to reignite when the wound is again exposed to oxygen, such as when bandages are changed.

Israel fired dozens of white phosphorus munitions during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, triggering international outcry. In 2013, when the Israeli High Court of Justice reviewed a complaint over the use of such weapons in Gaza, the military pledged that it would no longer use them in populated areas, with exceptions possible only in certain specific situations.

HRW urged the Israel Defense Forces to use smoke charges that do not contain white phosphorus, noting that some local companies produce them. The Israeli military did not comment on the accusations, which were first aired by the Palestinian authorities on Tuesday.

Israel has laid siege to Gaza in retaliation for the deadly incursion by the militant group Hamas last week, which was the worst breach of the country’s security in five decades. The raids and simultaneous rocket barrages resulted in more than 1,300 deaths, while dozens of Israelis were taken hostage. The Israeli government declared war on Hamas and has declared that it seeks its total destruction.

Officials in Gaza said Israeli strikes had killed more than 1,500 people, as of Thursday.

Palestine aAccuses Israel Of Using Restricted Weapons

A media report said:

The IDF has allegedly used white phosphorus munitions in its strikes against Gaza, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry claimed in a social media post on Tuesday. It also posted a video showing the aftermath of an alleged strike using the incendiary weapon.

White phosphorus munitions are not banned under international law, but their use is tightly regulated. These munitions should not be used in densely populated areas, due to the threat they pose to civilians, according to the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

A video published by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry on X (formerly Twitter) shows a large, barren area near buildings covered with a significant number of small flare-like objects that are still burning and releasing thick white smoke. No casualties or recent damage to the nearby buildings can be seen in the footage.

Munitions filled with white phosphorus are commonly used by the military to create smokescreens and conceal the movement of troops, due to their ability to produce a large amount of smoke. It can also be used to mark enemy targets. However, they also have incendiary qualities that make them particularly dangerous for humans.

White phosphorus ignites through simple contact with air due to its interaction with oxygen. It burns at a temperature of between 800C and 2,500C. Having a wax-like nature, the substance easily sticks to various surfaces, including clothes and skin, and is extremely difficult to wipe off or extinguish. It is known to cause deep burns as far as the bone, while the remnants of the substance contained in human tissue can potentially reignite after initial treatment when it makes contact with air again.

It is unclear if the video published by the Palestinian officials on X is recent or where exactly it was recorded. Israel is known to have repeatedly used white phosphorus munitions in the past. In 2006, the Israeli government admitted to using these weapons during its months-long war with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Israel insisted at the time that it used the munitions in accordance with international law, despite numerous media reports that they were fired in particular at areas with civilian populations.

In 2009, Israel acknowledged using “munitions containing white phosphorus” during an offensive in Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009.

Previously, the nation’s military was heavily criticized by Human Rights Watch for these actions, described as “evidence of war crimes” by the NGO. According to the media, the use of these munitions also led to a UN compound in Gaza partially burning down after coming in contact with the incendiary substance at the time.

In April 2013, Israel said it would stop using white phosphorus munitions to create smokescreens and would switch to gaseous substances for these purposes. No new reports about its use by the IDF surfaced since that time until now.

Israel has so far not commented on the Palestinian Foreign Ministry’s claim.

The news came amid the latest flare-up of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which followed a massive attack on Israel by the Gaza-based Hamas militant group over the weekend.

West Jerusalem responded with a massive bombing campaign against Gaza, which claimed the lives of more than 800 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The UN said on Tuesday it would launch a war-crimes investigation against both sides, citing “clear evidence” that there are violations of international law.

Palestinian President Rejects Eviction From Gaza

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas categorically rejected the removal of Gaza’s inhabitants from their land in a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday, Abbas’ office confirmed in a statement.

Biden pledged to support the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to bring much-needed humanitarian assistance to Gaza, according to a White House summary of the call.

The US president also claimed his administration has been working with the UN, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel “to ensure humanitarian supplies reach civilians in Gaza,” according to the summary, though Israel itself has pledged no electricity, water, or food will enter Gaza until the hostages taken by Hamas last Saturday are returned.

Abbas also told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he rejects the forced displacement” of Palestinians from Gaza, warning the American diplomat during a meeting on Friday in Amman that going along with Israel’s evacuation order for north Gaza would amount to a “second Nakba” a reference to Israel’s removal of 750,000 Palestinians from their land by force from 1947 to 1948.

Washington has repeatedly pledged to back Israel’s massive retaliation for Hamas’ attack last weekend. The resulting Israeli bombing campaign – the heaviest in Gaza’s history – has killed upwards of 1,900 Palestinians and displaced over 430,000 inhabitants of the densely-populated territory. 

Hamas Fighters Carried Detailed Maps Of Israeli Targets, Says Wall Street Journal

Hamas fighters, who poured into southern Israel last weekend in a massive surprise attack, had detailed maps of their targets, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Thursday, based on analysis of document samples.

The maps, operational plans and instructions on how to engage the Israeli military were reportedly recovered from the bodies of Hamas militants. They indicate the sophistication of the preparation for the raids as well as suggesting that the plans included targeting civilians, the newspaper said.

One set of documents included Hamas intelligence on Mefalsim, a kibbutz (Jewish communal settlement). It included aerial pictures, noted that the community only had a volunteer defense force, and warned that Israeli troops could arrive within minutes.

The battle order allocated two squads of five men and one commander to storm Mefalsim and take hostages. Israeli guards fended off the militants at the site, but raids on other similar settlements were successful for the attackers.

Some of the documents included photos of tanks and armored vehicles used by the IDF and tips on how they can be defeated. The WSJ suggested that the manuals indicated that Hamas fighters did not have experience of such engagements, and that its leadership expected more resistance.

A Hamas representative claimed on social media on Thursday that the operation had been planned since 2021 and that the results exceeded the organization’s expectations. Some 1,300 Israelis have been killed and at least 3,000 have been injured since the beginning of last week’s incursion.

Previous media reporting said Hamas managed to inflict so much damage by deceiving Israeli officials about its intentions, defeating their opponent’s intelligence-gathering, identifying and targeting the vulnerabilities of the high-tech wall along the Gaza border and exploiting lapses in Israeli military planning.

The incursion was the worst breach of Israeli national security in five decades. The Jewish state has pledged to destroy Hamas in retaliation.

UN To Investigate ‘War Crimes’ By Israel And Hamas

Another media report said:

The UN has announced an investigation into potential war crimes committed during the latest escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The international body stated on Tuesday that it had “clear evidence” of serious violations by both sides, and called on them to adhere to international human rights law.

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry, which is tasked with investigating violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said in a statement that it “has been collecting and preserving evidence of war crimes by sides since 7 October 2023.”

The commission was established under a UN Human Rights Council resolution in May 2021. It condemned the Hamas attack on Israel launched on Saturday, stating that the discriminatory killing of unarmed civilians and hostage-taking “cannot be tolerated” and amounts to “war crimes.”

The commission vowed to ensure “legal accountability” of all those responsible for violations of international law. It added that it would identify anyone linked to war crimes on both sides, including in command positions, and that the relevant information would be shared with judicial authorities, including the International Criminal Court.

The UN body urged all sides to refrain from further violence and called for “unconditional and safe release of all individuals who have been taken hostage by the Palestinian armed groups,” It also insisted that the only way to end the conflict was to address its “root causes” including the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and recognizing the right of Palestinians to self-determination.

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