Israeli military forces this summer engaged in deliberate, large-scale destruction of Palestinian civilian buildings that constitutes war crimes, Amnesty International stated Tuesday.
The finding, released in group's new briefing Nothing is immune: Israel’s destruction of landmark buildings in Gaza, is based on four attacks on "multi-storey landmark buildings in Gaza."
The strikes took place during the last days of what Israel called Operation Protective Edge, an military offensive in July and August that killed over 2,100 Palestinians, including over 500 children.
The buildings include three residential tower blocks in Gaza City and one commercial center in Rafah, and though, Amnesty International states, "the Israeli military took measures to ensure that residents left the targeted buildings before their destruction," the attacks injured scores of people nearby and caused widespread destruction of homes, property and belongings.
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The attacks amount to collective punishment, the group states.
"All the evidence we have shows this large-scale destruction was carried out deliberately and with no military justification," Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International, said in a statement.
"Both the facts on the ground and statements made by Israeli military spokespeople at the time indicate that the attacks were a collective punishment against the people of Gaza and were designed to destroy their already precarious livelihoods," he stated.
The new charge follows a separate report issued last month by the human rights group that noted eight instances during the summer assault in which the army acted with "callous indifference" by targeting houses full of families without warning. And Human Rights Watch declared in a report issued in September that Israel's strikes this summer on United Nations schools in Gaza that were sheltering thousands of displaced people were "in violation of the laws of war."