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UN: Hamas fired rockets from civilian areas during 2012 war

Special to WorldTribune.com

WASHINGTON — The United Nations has determined that Hamas was firing
missiles and rockets from populated areas of the Gaza Strip.

A report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Hamas and
Palestinian allies fired from civilian communities during their eight-day
war with Israel in November 2012. In a report, the UN commissioner said
Hamas and other Gaza rockets were fired indiscriminately toward Israel.

The UN said rockets were launched near housing projects and a soccer stadium in Gaza  City.  /Getty Images

The UN said rockets were launched near housing projects and a soccer stadium in Gaza City. /Getty Images

“While some projectiles were directed at military objectives, many, if
not the vast majority of the Palestinian attacks on Israel constituted
indiscriminate attacks,” the report, dated March 6, said. “Such attacks
violate international humanitarian law.”

About 100 rockets fired by Hamas and its militia allies landed in the
Gaza Strip, killing at least two civilians, the report said. The UN said
rockets were launched near housing projects and a soccer stadium in Gaza City.

“Launching attacks from populated areas constitutes a violation of
customary rules of international humanitarian law, i.e. the obligation to
take all precautions to protect civilians,” the report said. “By having done so, the civilian population’s exposure to the inherent dangers of the military operations taking place around them was greatly heightened.”

The report said an estimated 80 Israeli houses were struck in rocket
attacks from the Gaza Strip. The UN said Hamas and its allies, which fired
1,500 missiles and rockets, appeared to have sought to spread “terror among the civilian population” in Israel.

“Most rockets fired by the armed groups did not seem to be directed at a
specific military objective,” the report said. “Furthermore, many
Palestinian armed groups directly and indirectly indicated their
determination to — and took responsibility for — attacks on Israeli
civilians or large population centers in Israel.”

The report quoted claims by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular
Resistance Committees of attacks that included the Iranian-origin Fajr-5 as
well as the BM-21 Grad rockets. In one attack, a Fajr-5 fired by Jihad was said to have
damaged the communications network of Tel Aviv and closed Ben-Gurion
International Airport.

In all, six Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks, four of them
civilians in the war on Nov. 14-21. One of the victims was a 33-year-old who
was accompanying his cousin, assigned to build tents for the Israel Army
near the Gaza Strip. The report said this mortar and rocket attack by Jihad
constituted a “legitimate military objective.”

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