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Israel Hamas ICC arrest war crimes leaders bid

Israel and Hamas reject ICC's move to arrest leaders for war crimes as fighting continues in Gaza Strip.

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip has escalated as the International Criminal Court's prosecutor, Karim Khan, applied for arrest warrants against top Israeli and Hamas leaders for war crimes. Israel vehemently rejected the demand targeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, calling it a "historical disgrace", while Hamas "strongly condemns" the move.

Khan stated that he was seeking warrants against the Israeli leaders for crimes such as "wilful killing", "extermination and/or murder", and "starvation", accusing Israel of committing "crimes against humanity" in a systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population. He also held Hamas leaders, Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar, responsible for actions including "taking hostages", "rape and other acts of sexual violence", and "torture".

The prosecutor emphasized that international law applies to all individuals, regardless of their position, and that no one can act with impunity. If granted by ICC judges, the warrants would require any of the 124 ICC member states to arrest Netanyahu and the others if they travelled there, although the court lacks enforcement mechanisms.

The conflict in Rafah, described as the last Hamas stronghold, has intensified as Israeli troops entered the area, leading to a mass exodus of over 810,000 Palestinians. Residents like Sarhan Abu Al Saeed expressed fear and desperation, questioning where they could go to escape the violence.

Israeli forces have conducted targeted raids on terrorist infrastructure in Rafah, including tunnel shafts, with Defence Minister Gallant emphasizing Israel's commitment to dismantling Hamas and securing the release of hostages. The situation remains dire as heavy fighting continues in the region, with both sides showing no signs of backing down.

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