The UN says Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups may have committed war crimes in a deadly attack

GENEVA – The UN human rights office is citing possible war crimes by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in connection with a deadly attack by Israeli forces that freed four hostages last weekend.

Spokesman Jeremy Laurence expressed concern about possible violations of the rules of proportionality, distinction and precaution by the Israeli forces during Saturday’s raid on the Nuseirat urban refugee camp.

Palestinian health officials say at least 274 Palestinians were killed in the operation, including dozens of women and children.

Laurence said Palestinian armed groups holding hostages in densely populated areas expose the lives of nearby civilians and the hostages to “additional risks” as a result of the hostilities.

“All these actions by both sides could amount to war crimes,” he told a regular UN briefing in Geneva.

“It was catastrophic, the way this was carried out, because civilians were caught – again – in the middle of this situation,” Laurence added, referring to both the Israeli military operation and the more than eight-month-old conflict that began. on October 7.

Referring to the “ordeal” faced by hostages and their families, he said: “The fact that four hostages are now free is clearly very good news. These hostages should never have been taken in the first place. That is a violation of international humanitarian law. They must be released. All. Immediately.”

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