A group of Israelis injured by Palestinian rocket attacks during this year's Gaza war have asked a Belgian court to issue war crimes arrest warrants against Hamas leaders, they said on Thursday. The lawsuit follows a number of requests filed by pro-Palestinian bodies across Europe for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders over their role in the Gaza offensive.
The latest development was led by a European pro-Israeli lobby representing 15 victims of rocket attacks on southern Israel, who were wounded, whose homes were damaged and in one case who lost a relative. The Israelis, who also hold Belgian nationality, filed the complaint in Brussels, where a judicial probe would be held and arrest warrants issued if deemed necessary, their attorney, Roel Coveliers, said, according to AFP.
"The request for arrest warrants was submitted after six months of legal preparation and is based on strict evidence which ties Hamas leaders to terror attacks in which Belgium citizens ware harmed," Coveliers was quoted as saying by AFP. The complaint accuses 10 top Hamas military and political leaders of war crimes, citing reports by international human rights organisations and a UN fact-finding mission.
The Hamas leaders targeted by the lawsuit include the group's Damascus-based political chief Khaled Meshaal, top Gaza Strip leaders Ismail Haniya and Mahmud Zahar and the heads of its armed wing Ahmed Jaabari and Mohammed Def.