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U.N. Report Finds Israel, Hamas May Have Committed War Crimes

Both Israel and Hamas may have committed war crimes during Israel's invasion of Gaza in 2014, a report (.doc) by the United Nations' Independent Commission of Inquiry has found.

NPR's Emily Harris reports that the investigation has been controversial from the start. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Both Israel and Hamas have rejected the conclusions of the report. The Israeli foreign ministry says it was politically motivated and in the end failed to note the difference between Israel's 'moral' actions and those of Hamas.

"A senior Hamas official said the group was not targeting civilians in the war. The commission cited in particular Israel's continued airstrikes even after it became clear the attacks were killing civilians in Gaza, and Hamas' shooting rockets into Israel in a way designed to spread terror.

"The report criticized both sides for a lack of accountability for violations of international law."

"The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations to come," the chair of the commission Justice Mary McGowan Davis said at a press briefing.

The report found that the firepower used during this latest war was greater than ever before. It found that Israel launched more than 6,000 airstrikes and fired about 50,000 tank and artillery shells.

The report goes on: "In the 51 day operation, 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed, a third of them children. Palestinian armed groups fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars towards Israel in July and August 2014, killing 6 civilians and injuring at least 1,600."

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