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ICC seeks arrest warrants for Hamas leader and Israeli Prime Minister

ICC seeks arrest warrants for Hamas leader and Israeli Prime Minister Photo: ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine).
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the October 7 attack on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza, according to ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan.

According to him, the ICC is also seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as two other senior Hamas leaders - Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, leader of the Al-Qassem Brigades, known as Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh, a political leader of Hamas.

The orders against Israeli politicians mark the first time that the ICC has targeted a senior leader of a close ally of the United States. This decision puts Netanyahu on a par with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, who was issued an arrest warrant by the ICC in connection with Moscow's war in Ukraine.

Now the ICC panel of judges will consider Khan's application for an arrest warrant.

According to the prosecutor, the charges against Sinwar, Haniyeh, and al-Masri include extermination, murder, hostage-taking, rape and sexual violence in custody.

“The world was shocked on the 7th of October when people were ripped from their bedrooms, from their homes, from the different kibbutzim in Israel,” Khan says, adding that “people have suffered enormously.”

War in Israel

Since last year, Israel has been conducting military operations against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. Since October 2023, terrorists invaded Israel and killed and kidnapped hundreds of Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Most of the area was occupied by Israeli forces and destroyed as a result of the fighting. Israel has begun an invasion of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, which is still under Hamas control.

However, some US and European countries have criticized Tel Aviv for this plan and accused the Israelis of violating international law and possibly killing a large number of people during the attack on the city.

Read more about the current stage of Israel's war with Hamas in RBC-Ukraine's article.