Israel blasts ICC chief prosecutor over Gaza war arrest warrants

Tel Aviv, May 20 (IANS/DPA):  Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has sharply criticised the request for arrest warrants against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Katz spoke of a “scandalous decision” on Monday, which he said represents “an unrestrained frontal assault on the victims of October 7th and our 128 hostages in Gaza.” “While Hamas murderers and rapists commit crimes against humanity against our brothers and sisters, the Prosecutor mentions in the same breath the Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Israel alongside the vile Nazi-like monsters of Hamas – a historical disgrace that will be remembered forever,” Katz was quoted as saying by his office. He said he wanted to speak to the foreign ministers of leading states so that they would oppose the prosecutor’s decision “and declare that even if warrants are issued, they do not intend to enforce them against Israeli leaders.” ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan is prosecuting crimes committed during the Gaza war. He also requested warrants for Yehya al-Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, along with Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, the head of the group’s military wing, and Ismail Haniyeh, who sits atop Hamas’ political bureau and is seen as the group’s overall leader. Around 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 taken hostage in the Gaza Strip during the Hamas attacks in the Israeli border area on October 7. The unprecedented attack was the trigger for Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip, in which more than 35,500 people are said to have been killed so far. –IANS/DPA int/as/dan

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