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Prosecutors seek arrest of Israel’s PM and Hamas leader for war crimes | BBC News

Prosecutors at the international criminal court have applied for arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar.

The court’s chief prosecutor said there are reasonable grounds to believe both men bear responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed since the Hamas attacks on October 7th and the subsequent war in Gaza.

Arrest warrants are also sought for Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant and Hamas’s political leader Ismail Haniyeh, along with the group’s military chief Mohammed Deif.

The prosecutors accuse Israel of state-sanctioned targeting of Gaza’s civilian population including extermination, murder and using starvation as a weapon of war. They accuse Hamas of extermination, hostage taking, torture and sexual violence.

Judges at the International Criminal Court will now decide whether they there is sufficient evidence to issue the warrants.

Mr Netanyahu described the application to arrest him as absurd and President Biden called it “outrageous.”

Hamas demanded the “cancellation of all arrest warrants issued against leaders of the Palestinian resistance” and said it violated their right under international law to resist Israeli aggression and occupation.

The accusations against the Israeli and Hamas leaders stem from the events of 7 October, when waves of Hamas gunmen attacked Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking 252 others back to Gaza as hostages. The attack led to the current war, in which at least 35,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

Fiona Bruce presents BBC News at Ten reporting by Lucy Williamson.

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Written by Kathleen Davis

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