Palestinian armed groups must be held accountable for civilian killings, abductions and indiscriminate attacks: Amnesty

Amnesty International

Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups flagrantly violated international law and displayed a chilling disregard for human life by carrying out cruel and brutal crimes including mass summary killings, hostage-taking, and launching indiscriminate rocket attacks into Israel, Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International will continue its investigations in order to determine the full range of crimes under international law.  

In Israel, more than 1,200 people – mostly civilians, including children – have been killed, and 2,400 have been injured since the attacks began in the early morning of 7 October.

In Gaza at least 1,200 people, including children, have been killed by Israeli military retaliation. The recently intensified blockade which completely disconnected water, electricity, food and fuel supplies is exacerbating the already catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Israel’s blockade amounts to collective punishment which is also a war crime, Amnesty said in a statement.

Video footage analysed by Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab shows Palestinian fighters on the initial day of the attacks deliberately shooting at civilians and taking civilians as hostages. In one of the most egregious incidents at the Nova Music festival, at least 260 civilians were killed, while others are still missing.

“Massacring civilians is a war crime and there can be no justification for these reprehensible attacks. We verified chilling videos which show armed men shooting at civilians and dragging people away as hostages. One disturbing video shows armed men parading a woman through central Gaza, like a scene from a nightmare. All civilians who were abducted, including children, must be released immediately. These crimes must be investigated as part of the International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigation into crimes committed by all parties in the current conflict,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. 

“Israel’s well-documented record of war crimes does not excuse Palestinian armed groups’ horrendous actions, nor absolve them from upholding their obligations under international law to respect fundamental principles of humanity and protection of civilians.”    

This investigation focuses on some of the war crimes and human rights violations that have been committed by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups since 7 October. It is the first briefing from Amnesty International’s ongoing research into the escalating violence and human rights violations taking place in Gaza and Israel. At least 1200 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, and more than 5600 injured.   

“As Israeli forces’ retaliatory attacks pummel Gaza, Amnesty International insists that neither security nor justice will be achieved by a civilian bloodbath in Gaza and collective punishment,” said Agnès Callamard. 

The attacks against Israel began with a barrage of indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza, followed by an incursion into Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups. Thousands of rockets landed in several areas across central and southern Israel, and reached as far as Tel Aviv.

These unlawful attacks killed both Israelis and Palestinians. They also hit unrecognised Palestinian villages in the Negev/Naqab region, killing at least six civilians, five of them children. These neglected communities  already live in precarious situations with no access to shelters.

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