The Hamas terrorist organization on Thursday called for Israel to be held accountable after a UN probe said IDF soldiers may have committed crimes against humanity in their response to Gaza unrest.
"The report indicates beyond any doubt that the Israeli occupation has committed clear war crimes against the Palestinians who came out to protest peacefully to demand the right of return and lift the siege," senior Hamas official Bassem Naim told AFP.
He called on "the international community to hold the Israeli occupation accountable for the war crimes that it continues to commit against the Palestinians."
Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas also welcomed the probe's findings, according to AFP.
The inquiry, set up by the UN Human Rights Council, investigated possible violations from the start of the “March of the Return” Gaza border riots on March 30, 2018 through to December 31.
"More than 6,000 unarmed demonstrators were shot by military snipers, week after week at the protest sites," it said.
"The Commission found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognizable as such," it added.
Israel rejected the findings of the UN probe, calling it "hostile, deceitful and biased."
"Israel rejects the report outright," Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said in a statement after the probe alleged soldiers may have committed crimes against humanity.
"No institution can negate Israel's right to self-defense and its duty to defend its residents and borders from violent attacks."
Katz said that those "pushing the residents of Gaza to the fences, including women and children, is Hamas, an organization whose declared goal is destroying the state of Israel, and is the one to bear the responsibility."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the report, saying, "Israel rejects outright the report of the UN Human Rights Council. The council sets new records of hypocrisy and lies, out of obsessive hatred of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”
“Hamas is the one which fires rockets at Israeli civilians, throws bombs and carries out terrorist activities during the violent demonstrations along the fence,” he added.
The border riots in the past included Gazans attempting to infiltrate into Israel, as well as using kites and balloons with explosives attached in order to set fire to Israeli property.
Hamas openly admitted that most of the Gazans who were killed in the border riots were members of the group.