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ICC prosecutor seeks arrest of Israeli and Hamas leaders

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has applied for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas’s leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar for war crimes․

Karim Khan KC said there were reasonable grounds to believe that both men bore criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity from at least 7 October 2023.

Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant and Hamas’s political leader Ismail Haniyeh, along with the group’s military chief Mohammed Deif are also wanted for arrest.

The ICC, based in The Hague, has been investigating Israel’s actions in the occupied territories for the past three years – and more recently the actions of Hamas as well.

Mr Netanyahu recently called the prospect of senior Israel figures joining the ICC’s wanted list “an outrage of historic proportions”.

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz – a political rival of Mr Netanyahu – denounced the prosecutor’s decision.

“Drawing parallels between the leaders of a democratic country determined to defend itself from despicable terror to leaders of a blood-thirsty terror organisation is a deep distortion of justice and blatant moral bankruptcy,” he posted on X.

ICC judges will now determine whether they believe the evidence is sufficient to issue arrest warrants.

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