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UN Panel Slams Israel on Human Rights


A United Nations panel of experts has urged Israel to end the extra-judicial killing of terror suspects, and to ensure civil and political freedoms for Palestinians in occupied territory.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee also called Friday for an end to the blockade of Gaza. It questioned the independence of Israel's own inquiry into the May 31 naval raid on a Gaza-bound relief supply ship. Nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed in the assault.

Israel admitted errors in planning the raid but justified the use of lethal force saying its marines came under attack.

Also Friday, Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a rocket into Ashkelon on Israel's Mediterranean coast on Friday, blowing out apartment windows and damaging parked cars. No injuries were reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from any group, but Israeli officials say they will hold the Islamic militant group Hamas responsible.

The U.N. charges are the latest in a series of reports and sessions in which Israel has found itself on the defensive at the United Nations regarding its policies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

On July 23, another U.N. rights forum, the Human Rights Council, appointed a team of international experts to investigate the raid on the flotilla and called on all parties to cooperate.

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

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