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ICC confirms investigation into Gaza journalist deaths

The International Criminal Court has confirmed that it is investigating potential crimes against journalists since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, where dozens of reporters have been killed.

Media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in November that it had filed a complaint with the Hague-based ICC alleging war crimes over the deaths of journalists trying to cover the conflict.

“The office of prosecutor Karim Khan has assured the organisation that crimes against journalists are included in its investigation into Palestine,” the NGO announced yesterday.

The court confirmed the statement and said: “The ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s investigation into the situation in the State of Palestine concerns crimes committed within the Court’s jurisdiction since 13 June 2014.”

At least 79 journalists and media professionals, the vast majority Palestinian, have been killed since the war began three months ago, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

On Sunday, broadcaster Al Jazeera said two of its Palestinian journalists in Gaza were killed in an Israeli strike on their car.

Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, who also worked as a video stringer for AFP and other news organisations, were killed in what Al Jazeera called a “targeted killing”.

The Israeli army said it had struck “a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat” and was “aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle”.

After the latest deaths, the United Nations’s rights office said that it was “very concerned by (the) high death toll of media workers in Gaza”.

The Gaza war broke out after Hamas gunmen launched their 7 October attack that resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Israel has responded with relentless bombardment and a ground invasion of Gaza that has killed at least 23,210 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

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