Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Israel violated the laws of war in the Gaza Strip during its recent offensive against the Palestinian enclave.
The international rights group said in a statement on Thursday that in three attacks that it examined, Tel Aviv caused “numerous civilian casualties in violation of the laws of war.”
The group said the incidents were separate shelling of two UN schools in northern Gaza on July 24 and 30 and another missile attack on a UN school in Rafah on August 3.
The three attacks killed a total of 45 people, including 17 children, the New York-based rights watchdog said.
“Two of the three attacks Human Rights Watch investigated… did not appear to target a military objective or were otherwise unlawfully indiscriminate. The third attack in Rafah was unlawfully disproportionate if not otherwise indiscriminate,” the HRW said in the statement.
“Unlawful attacks carried out willfully — that is, deliberately or recklessly — are war crimes,” it added.
Gaza Health officials say a total of 2,137 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli onslaught, which started on July 8. The victims included 577 children, while over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – were injured.
Tel Aviv says 72 Israelis were killed in the conflict, but Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says the number is much higher.