Israel’s ground assault on the Gaza Strip, which began last night after 10 days of attacks by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups, accentuates the need for urgent international action to protect civilians in Gaza and Israel from further war crimes by both sides, Amnesty International said today.
“Israel’s relentless air assault on Gaza has seen its forces flagrantly disregard civilian life and property, which must be protected under international humanitarian law,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.
Some 240 Palestinians had already been killed before the ground operation began, at least 171 of them civilians, including 48 children and 31 women, up to 3pm on 17 July, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. One Israeli civilian was killed by mortar fire from Gaza on 15 July.
At least 30 more Palestinians have reportedly been killed in the Gaza Strip since the ground assault was launched.