JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday accused Palestinian group Hamas of committing “double war crimes.”
Speaking at a joint press conference with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu called on the international community to hold Hamas accountable for rejecting multiple ceasefire offers and continuing its attacks on Israeli civilians.
Hamas is “like Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Boko Haram and it must be dealt with accordingly,” Netanyahu said. “Israel will act decisively to end the threat to its citizens.”
Netanyahu went on to call on the international community to “take a clear stance and hold Hamas accountable for rejecting ceasefires and initiating the hostilities.”
“They [Hamas] are committing a double war crime. They want more civilian casualties, whereas we want no civilian casualties,” he argued.
Since July 7, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip with fierce aerial bombardments with the ostensible aim of halting Palestinian rocket fire.
At least 612 Palestinians have been killed – mostly civilians – and more than 3745 others injured in Israel’s ongoing offensive, now in its third week.
Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rockets at Israeli cities – which have reportedly killed at least one Israeli – in response to relentless Israeli bombardments.
According to official Israeli figures, 27 Israeli soldiers have been killed since Israel sent thousands of ground troops into the Gaza Strip late Thursday.
Israel’s military operation, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” is the self-proclaimed Jewish state’s third major offensive against the densely-populated Gaza Strip – which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – within the last six years.
In 2008/9, over 1500 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s three-week-long “Operation Cast Lead.”
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