Amnesty International on Thursday accused Israel of killing hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroying thousands of houses in its December 2008 - January 2009 war in the Gaza strip. The first in-depth human rights report on the offensive said Israel's attacks amounted to war crimes. It said "disturbing questions" remain about why high-precision weapons "killed so many children and other civilians".
The international group urged Israel to publicly pledge not to use artillery, white phosphorus and other imprecise weapons in densely populated areas. It also called on Hamas to stop rocket fire against Israeli civilians.
In addition, Amnesty accused Israeli forces of using Palestinians as "human shields", and regularly denying civilians from getting medical care and humanitarian aid. The pattern of attacks and the high number of civilian casualties "showed elements of reckless conduct, disregard for civilian lives and property and a consistent failure to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects", the 117-page report said.
Amnesty found some 300 children and hundreds of other unarmed civilians were among the dead.