Israeli attacks may have violated international law: UNHCR

GENEVA, (SANA): Israel´s military actions in the Gaza Strip could amount to war crimes, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said Wednesday while also condemning rocket attacks by Palestinian militants Hamas.

“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Pillay told an emergency session on Israel´s Gaza offensive at the UN Human Rights Council, citing attacks that have killed Palestinian civilians, including children.

She said Israeli children and other civilians also had a right to live without constant fear of rocket attacks. “Once again, the principles of distinction and precaution are clearly not being observed during such indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups,” she said.

Meanwhile, five children aged 12 to 14 and their driver were killed when the minibus they were traveling in crashed headlong into an incoming truck, a local prosecutor said Wednesday, revising an earlier toll.

“Five children died… three girls and two boys,” Alex Perrin told, adding that their 29-year-old driver had also perished in the accident on Tuesday afternoon near Courteranges village in central France.

Perrin had previously said that four children were killed, as was the driver and another 20-year-old man, but he told AFP he had got the latter victim´s age wrong.

The children were returning home from a trip to the Lac d´Orient, a huge artificial lake, when the minibus they were in suddenly veered to the left on a country road and crashed into a truck coming the other way.

Three other passengers — two children and an adult accompanying them — were injured but are not in critical condition, and the driver of the truck escaped largely unhurt.

“Was it a moment of inattention; was there some commotion inside the vehicle? We don’t know,” Perrin told reporters late on Tuesday.

He said a probe into the accident would seek to determine the exact cause of the crash, saying that the road was well maintained, and visibility and the weather at the time were good.

The accident is one of the most serious involving children since 1982, when 53 people — including 44 children — died when their bus caught fire after it collided with several vehicles on a motorway.

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May 2021