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Monday, 4 November, 2002, 05:48 GMT
Amnesty says Jenin operation 'war crime'
Girls in Jenin
The onslaught left the Jenin refugee camp in ruins

The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has accused the Israeli army of committing war crimes during its incursions into the West Bank towns of Jenin and Nablus earlier this year.

In a new report, the London-based organisation says that some of the actions carried out by Israeli forces during their military operations between April and June breached the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Amnesty report, some details of which were released in April shortly after their investigation, is also critical of an earlier United Nations report on the Israeli incursions.

The group calls upon Israel and the international community to investigate those responsible.

Women and children killed

Israel sent its forces into Jenin in April after a series of suicide bombings, saying the attacks were being planned there.

Amnesty says the army killed civilians, tortured prisoners, destroyed houses and prevented the arrival of humanitarian aid in the Palestinian towns.

Boys in the ruins of Jenin refugee camp
The UN did not visit Jenin to write its report
While early Palestinian claims that hundreds of people were massacred have now been discounted, Amnesty believes that over 50 Palestinians were killed in the fighting in Jenin, and at least another 80 in Nablus, many of them civilians.

Women and children were among the dead.

The United Nations earlier issued a report into the Israeli incursions, which concluded that no widespread killings had occurred.

But Amnesty points out that as UN officials did not actually visit Jenin, the report was no substitute for a thorough and impartial investigation.

Last month Amnesty strongly condemned a suicide bombing which killed 14 people in northern Israel, and called on all Palestinian armed groups to end attacks on civilians immediately.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jeremy Cooke
"Israel's denials of a massacre have been vindicated"
Daniel Taub, Israeli foreign ministry
"This tragedy began when the Palestinian leadership allowed terrorists to set up shop in the heart of Palestinian areas"
Paul McCann, UN Relief Agency
"The international community needs to keep supporting the Palestinians"

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01 Aug 02 | Middle East
02 Aug 02 | Media reports
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03 May 02 | Middle East
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