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UN officials accuse Israel of attempting 'extermination' of Palestinians in Gaza

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Palestiwnians dying in Gaza

The Israeli military may have commited multiple war crimes and has made little effort to protect civilians while relentlessly pounding Gaza in pursuit of Hamas militants, the U.N. human rights office said Wednesday.

In a separate meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, the head of a U.N. Commission of Inquiry said the scale of Palestinian civilian losses amounted to "extermination." The use of weapons with large destructive capacity in densely populated areas "constitutes an intentional and direct attack on the civilian population" and those responsible should be held accountable, Navi Pillay said.

The U.N. report, focusing on six attacks that resulted in mass casualties and destroyed civilian infrastructure, said Israeli forces "may have systematically violated" the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. No prior warning was issued in five of the attacks, the report says, adding that international humanitarian law clearly defines the obligation to make protection of civilians a priority.


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