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ICC prosecutor ‘alarmed’ by Gaza violence

The file photo shows smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike outside the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, October 17, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says she is “alarmed” by violence at the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied territories, threatening to take an action.

The warning comes on the heels of Israeli aerial assaults on Gaza that killed a Palestinian youth.

The Israeli military claimed that its fresh air raids came “in response to the rockets fired from Gaza” onto occupied territories overnight. The claim was, however, rejected in a joint statement by Gaza-based Palestinian resistance groups.

The Hague-based court has been conducting a preliminary probe into crimes in the Palestinian territories since 2015.

The probe covers Tel Aviv’s actions during the regime's full-scale war of 2014 against the Gaza Strip.

Bensouda said in a statement on Wednesday that she was "alarmed by the continued violence, perpetrated by actors on both sides, at the Gaza border with Israel."

"As prosecutor seized of the situation in Palestine, I therefore feel compelled to remind all parties that the situation remains under preliminary examination by my office," she added.

"I continue to keep a close eye on the developments on the ground and will not hesitate to take any appropriate action."

Tensions have been running high along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied territories since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests dubbed “The Great March of Return.” Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

The clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with Washington's relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

More than 190 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded in the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014 and ended in late August the same year. The Israeli military aggression killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and injured over 11,100 others.

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