UN Questions Legality of Israeli Airstrikes After Gaza Death Toll Passes 100

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The United Nation's is raising questions about the legality of Israeli airstrikes, claiming that they may violate international laws on the targeting of civilians. 

The Palestinian death toll in the violence between Hamas and Israel surpassed 100 on Friday, with dozens more killed overnight in rocket attacks in Gaza. There have also been reports of additional rockets entering Israel from neighboring Lebanon, likely launched by Palestinian militants and radicals. 

"We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," Navi Pillay, the United Nation's high commissioner for human rights said on Friday. "Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law," she added. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against critics Friday

"No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power," he said. 

The Israeli military claims they have hit more than 1,100 targets in Gaza with attacks on enemy rocket-launching sites coming on average every five minutes. They also claim that the Israeli missile defense system, "Iron Drone" has shot down 118 incoming rockets from Gaza, which has launched over 550 rockets at Israel. 

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Israel's military "uses its weapons to defend its civilians. Hamas uses its civilians to defend its weapons," Israel military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told the AP.

Fighting between the two sides broke out after the bodies of 3 Israeli teenagers, believed to have been kidnapped by Hamas forces were found in the West Bank. Tensions rose when a Palestinian teen was killed in a retaliatory attack days later. 

The Israeli attack on Friday struck the home of a well known Islamist Jihad leader. It was followed up with rocket fire from Gaza, reaching farther into central Israel, setting off warning sirens at Ben-Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv. Hamas says it plans to fire on the airport, warning foreign planes to stay away. 

In addition, Israel now faces new violence from radicals on its northern border. Palestinian militants fired 3 rockets towards Israel from Lebanon this morning, which were met with a retaliatory attack of 25 artillery shells from the Israelis. 

Meanwhile, Israeli leaders are debating a group assault on Gaza, the AP reports. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.