Gaza probe finds “unprecedented” devastation

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Mary McGowan Davis. UN PHOTO.

The Gaza conflict last year caused "unprecedented" devastation and death, especially in the Palestinian territories, United Nations investigators said Monday.

In a report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, investigators expressed concern at what they called a "huge increase" in firepower during the 51-day war between Israel and Palestinian armed groups.

Some 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed, a third of them children, while six people died on the Israeli side.

Daniel Johnson reports.

Citing possible war crimes in her report from both sides, chief investigator Mary McGowan Davis questioned the Israeli military's conduct during the conflict.

She said there was a "crying need" to address the "extensive" use of Israeli weapons with a "wide kill and injury radius" in densely populated areas.

And she also spoke of apparent "pattern" whereby Israeli forces issued evacuation orders to neighbourhoods and then "automatically considered" anyone left behind to be a target.

"The most that we can hope for is that we will push the ball of justice a little further down the field by calling on governments to stand up and join together to address the crying need for changes in policies regarding the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated urban areas."

For their part, the report found that Palestinian groups fired nearly 7,000 rockets and mortars at Israel, indiscriminately and with the intention of spreading terror.

In addition, Israeli civilians had been left traumatised the discovery of 14 tunnels used by Palestinian armed groups to attack Israeli soldiers during the 51-day conflict.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’08″

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