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‘Israeli armed forces & Palestinian militants may be guilty of war crimes’

United Nations investigators say both sides failed to protect civilians.

FILE: The commission has published the results of an investigation into the conflict revealing both sides committed grave abuses of international humanitarian law. Picture: EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - The United Nations Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza conflict has found that both Israeli armed forces and Palestinian militants may be guilty of war crimes.

The commission has published the results of an investigation into the conflict revealing both sides committed grave abuses of international humanitarian law.

More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed along with more than 70 Israelis.

UN investigators say both sides failed to protect civilians with Israel killing many through targeted attacks and Palestinians using rockets and underground tunnels to sow a culture of fear.

Chairperson Mary McGowan Davis says they had extensive discussions with both sides.

"We have heard heart wrenching testimony from many people who want the world to acknowledge their suffering and who have come forward to the United Nations to seek justice and peace."

The UN commission says it interviewed numerous witnesses and examined military operations while investigating possible war crimes.

UN investigators were denied access to the areas concerned, but say they still managed to talk to many victims and gained a full picture of what happened.

Davis says civilians told the commission they just wanted peace.

"I was struck by how despite the killings and the hatred, many witnesses expressed empathy for their counterparts on the other side."

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