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ICC Seeks Arrest Warrants for Hamas Leader Sinwar and Israeli PM Netanyahu Over War Crimes

ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has made a remarkable move, seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The charges relate to alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from the October 7 attacks on Israel and subsequent events in Gaza. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan revealed this development in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

Apart from Netanyahu, the warrants are also directed at Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and two other Hamas leaders—Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, better known as Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ political leader.

ICC prosecutor seeks arrest

This marks the first time the ICC has targeted the top leader of a close ally of the United States, putting Netanyahu alongside figures like Russian President Vladimir Putin and the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who faced similar ICC actions.

By seeking arrest warrants against both Israeli and Hamas leaders in a single action, Khan’s office risks criticism for equating a terror organization with an elected government. A panel of ICC judges will now review Khan’s application for the warrants.

Khan detailed the charges against Sinwar, Haniyeh, and al-Masri, including allegations of “extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape, and sexual assault in detention.”

He emphasized the severe impact of the October 7 attacks, where Hamas-led militants killed around 1,200 people across southern Israel and took some 250 hostages into Gaza, with many still held captive.

Regarding Israel, Khan accused Netanyahu and Gallant of offenses such as “causing extermination” and “deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.” He underscored that while Israel has the right to retrieve hostages, it must do so within the confines of the law.

In response, Hamas condemned the ICC Prosecutor’s move, calling it an attempt to equate victims with aggressors. They urged the prosecutor to target alleged war criminals among Israeli leaders, officers, and soldiers instead.

Israeli officials, including Netanyahu and Gallant, vehemently opposed the ICC’s decision. Netanyahu labeled it a “political outrage” and vowed to continue the fight until the hostages are released and Hamas is neutralized.

The ICC’s decision underscores the ongoing tensions between Israel and Hamas, highlighting the legal challenges of addressing alleged war crimes in the region.

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