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Palestinians want ICJ probe on Gaza: diplomat

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Saturday (Aug 9) said his government would soon try to haul Israelis before the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

BOGOTA: Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Saturday (Aug 9) said his government would soon try to haul Israelis before the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

"We will go to the ICJ, and put our signature on it. Very soon we will be a (sovereign) state. That is enough for the court to start an investigation," Malki, on a visit to Bogota, told AFP.

Israeli warplanes pummelled Gaza with 50 air strikes that killed eight Palestinians Saturday as militants slammed 25 rockets into Israel amid mounting calls for a fresh ceasefire. The conflict has now killed at least 1,914 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side, almost all soldiers, since July 8.

Malki, who attended to inauguration on Thursday (Aug 7) of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, said "before coming here, I was in the Hague.

"And I asked the ICJ to start an official investigation, to see if what Israel has done in the past 33 days reaches the level of war crimes," Malki told a briefing in Bogota.

The Palestinians in 2009 asked the ICC's prosecutor's office to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli military in Gaza in 2008-2009. But so far there has been no probe as Palestine is not an ICC member state and its status as a country is uncertain in some international institutions. Palestinians however in late November 2012 obtained non-member observer status at the United Nations, opening the door for an ICC investigation.

Britain, France and Germany meanwhile on Saturday (Aug 9) urged Israel and Hamas to agree a truce at once.

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