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Impeding relief supplies to Gaza may be a crime - ICC prosecutor

Palestinians unload boxes of medicine from a truck arrived at Nasser Medical Complex, as part of the aid batch that entered in to the Gaza strip from Rafah crossing Sunday   -  
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"Preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid" to the Gaza Strip could constitute a "crime", said Karim Khan, head of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in Cairo on Sunday, after visiting the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, where international aid destined for Palestinian civilians is piling up.

"Preventing the delivery of aid can constitute a crime", the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) told journalists on Sunday, adding that "Israel must ensure without delay that civilians receive food and medicine" in Gaza.

"At Rafah, I saw trucks blocked, filled with goods and humanitarian aid, far from the hungry mouths and wounds" of Gaza's inhabitants, said Mr. Khan.

Since October 9, Israel has imposed a "total siege" on Gaza, cutting off supplies of water, electricity and food, while the territory was already under an Israeli blockade.

There have been increasing calls for humanitarian aid to be allowed through to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, who have been subjected to incessant bombardment by the Israeli army, triggered by the deadly and unprecedented Hamas attack on its soil on October 7.

On Sunday, Mr. Khan said he was "investigating the crimes that may have been committed in Israel on October 7", as well as "the ongoing events in Gaza and the West Bank", as part of the ICC's official investigation of the Palestinian Territories, due to open in 2021.

In the occupied West Bank, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed by settlers and during Israeli army operations since October 7.

More than 8,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Gaza by Israeli bombardments, according to the Ministry of Health of Hamas, which has controlled the territory since 2007.

According to the Israeli army, more than 1,400 people have died since October 7, mostly civilians killed on the day of the attack in which Hamas took 239 people hostage.

Established in 2002, the ICC is the only independent international court to investigate crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Israel, which is not a member of the ICC, has refused to cooperate with the investigation.

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