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Amnesty International Accuses Israel, Hamas of 'War Crimes'


A leading human rights group has accused Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas of war crimes during Israel's Gaza offensive several months ago.

Amnesty International said in a report Thursday that Israeli troops targeted civilians in attacks. It said troops used civilians as human shields by forcing them to stay in houses employed as military positions.

Amnesty also said rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel constituted war crimes, but dismissed Israeli claims the militant group Hamas had used civilians as human shields.

Israel blames Hamas for the heavy casualties in the fighting, accusing militants of using schools, mosques and residential areas for cover.

Israel says it launched the late December Gaza offensive to stop cross-border rocket attacks by Palestinian militants. Three weeks of fighting killed at least 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. Amnesty says 300 Palestinian children were among the dead.

On Wednesday, rock-throwing Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Israeli officials say soldiers shot at the legs of four Palestinians who were throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles not far from the city of Nablus.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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