JERUSALEM : The Human Rights Watch said last Tuesday that both Israel and Gaza's Islamist rulers Haamas probaby committed war crimes during their war in May, accusations that both sides rejected.

The 11-day conflict saw Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza fire thousands of rockets at Israel, which retaliated with hundreds of deadly airstrikes.

The HRW said it had investigated three Israeli attacks that ''killed 62 Palestinian civilians where there were no evident military targets in the vicinity'', interviewing witnesses and analyzing dats from the sites and digital imagery.

Israel rejected the report, with foreign ministry accusing the New-York based rights group of having ''a long standing anti-Israel agenda''.

The HRW report listed a May 10 strike in Beit Hanoun, one on May 15 at the AI-Shati refugee camp and a wave of strikes on May 16 in Gaza City as the focus of its investigation.

It noted ''other Israeli attacks during the conflict were also likely unlawful''.

The May 10 strike hit a family as it packed barley into sacks. Eight people including six children died.

The Human Rights Watch said it found no evidence that any were combatants, and saw no proof of a military target at the site.

''An attack that is not directed at a specific military objective is unlawful,'' it said.

In the second attack, an Israeli strike on a three-storey building in AI-Shati killed 10 people. One resident told researchers that '' there was no warning that anything would happen to our house''.

Israel said it had targeted a building in the camp because '' a number of Hamas terror organization's senior officials were in an apartment''.

HRW said no witnesses or relatives of the dead were aware of militants in or near the building during the attack.

The third attack was a four minute onslaught that that destroyed three buildings and killed ''44 civilians'' 

The conflict killed 260 Palestinians including some fighters, according to Gaza authorities In Israel, 13 people including a soldier were killed, the police and army said. [AFP]


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