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Gaza raids a 'war crime'

14/10/2003 14:44  - (SA)  

London - Human rights group Amnesty International on Monday condemned Israeli raids at the weekend on the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah that killed eight Palestinians, describing the operation as a "war crime".

"The repeated practice by the Israeli army of deliberate and wanton destruction of homes and civilian property is a grave violation of international human rights and humanitarian law... and constitutes a war crime," Amnesty said in a written statement issued in London.

"Amnesty International calls on the Israeli authorities to put an immediate end to the practice of destroying Palestinian homes and other properties, and of using excessive, disproportionate and reckless force against unarmed Palestinians... which frequently result in the killing and injuring of unarmed civilians, including children."

Amnesty also urged Palestinian armed groups to "immediately halt" deliberate killings of Israeli civilians.

Eight Palestinians were killed and about 80 injured during the operation launched on Rafah on Thursday night, which Israel says was aimed at destroying tunnels used to smuggle in weapons from across the border with Egypt.

About 1 500 people were also left homeless in Rafah refugee camp, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has said.


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