Hamas welcomes ICC probe into possible war crimes in Palestinian territories

Hamas said on Saturday it welcomed a decision by the International Criminal Court to launch an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories.

ICC prosecutors said on Friday the preliminary examination would scrutinize “in full independence and impartiality” crimes that may have occurred since June 13 last year, opening a path to possible charges against Israelis or Palestinians.

The court’s decision came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a rival to Hamas, requested ICC membership, against strong opposition from Israel and the United States.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip, said on Saturday the Islamist group appreciated the move.

“What is needed now is to quickly take practical steps in this direction and we are ready to provide (the court) with thousands of reports and documents that confirm the Zionist enemy has committed horrible crimes against Gaza and against our people,” he said in a statement.

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