explosions in gaza
Smoke and explosions caused by Israeli bombardment are seen on the horizon in northern Gaza, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)
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MEXICO CITY  —Mexico and Chile have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate possible crimes against civilians in Gaza and the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said in a statement that it filed the request “because of a growing concern about the recent escalation in violence, especially against civilians.”

There have been widespread claims of breaches of international law by Hamas and Israeli forces since war erupted.

Israel launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip following the Oct. 7 attack, in which 1,200 people were killed and some 250 people taken hostage by Hamas militants.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says more than 24,400 Palestinians have died during Israel’s military operation, and the United Nations says a quarter of the 2.3 million people trapped in Gaza are starving.

Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, said in December that investigating possible crimes by Hamas militants and Israeli forces was “a priority.”

The ICC is a court of last resort set up to prosecute war crimes when local courts cannot or will not take action. Israel is not a member state of the court and does not recognize its jurisdiction.

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Any ICC proceedings would be separate from South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide at the U.N. world court, a charge that Israel denies.

Khan said in December that in Gaza the fighting was in “densely populated areas where fighters are alleged to be unlawfully embedded in the civilian population is inherently complex, but international humanitarian law must still apply and the Israeli military knows the law that must be applied.”

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