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ICC to Issue Arrest Warrants Against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamas leaders For War Crime?

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is preparing to issue arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif. 

Karim Khan, the court's chief prosecutor, said CNN that the ICC has issued arrest warrants for Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the October 7 attacks on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza. 

According to CNN's report, Karim Khan said that the ICC would prosecute Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Galant as well as two other top Hamas leaders, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, the leader of the Al Qassim Brigades and Mohammed Deif, a notorious terrorist and Hamas political leader. Also seeking warrant for leader Ismail Haniya. 

The warrants against Israeli politicians mark the first time the ICC has targeted a top leader of a close ally of the United States. The decision puts Netanyahu in the same category as Russian President Vladimir Putin, for whom the ICC had issued an arrest warrant over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A panel of ICC judges will now consider Khan's application for an arrest warrant. Khan said the charges against Sinwar, Haniyeh and al-Masri included "murder, hostage-taking, rape and sexual assault in custody". "The world was shocked on October 7 when people were evacuated from their bedrooms, from their homes, from various kibbutzim in Israel," Khan told CNN. "People have suffered huge losses," he said.

The charges against Netanyahu and Gallant include "destroying, causing starvation as a method of war, denying humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in the conflict," Khan said. 

When reports emerged last month that the ICC Chief Prosecutor was considering this action, Netanyahu said that any ICC arrest warrants against senior Israeli government and military officials "would be an insult of historic proportions" and that Israel would have "an independent It is a legal system "that rigorously examines all violations of the law."

Asked about comments made by Netanyahu, Khan said, "Nobody is above the law." He said that if Israel disagrees with the ICC, "they are free to raise a challenge before the court's judges, despite their objections to jurisdiction, and I advise them to do so. Israel and the United States are not members of the ICC. However, the ICC has claimed jurisdiction over Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank after Palestinian leaders formally agreed in 2015 to be bound by the court's founding principles."