BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestine's human rights ombudsman on Thursday called on the international community to urgently intervene to protect civilians in the Gaza Strip, as Israel launched a second night of airstrikes on the coastal strip.
The Independent Commission for Human Rights called on the world to "put an end to the unprecedented Israeli war crimes against civilians in the Gaza Strip, which already suffers difficult humanitarian conditions resulting from the Israeli siege."
Since Israel killed a senior Hamas commander on Wednesday, 16 Palestinians have died in the Israeli assault, termed 'Operation Pillar of Cloud.' Gaza militant groups claimed responsibility for firing a volley of rockets, which killed three Israelis early Thursday.
ICHR condemned the violence, and noted that the principles of international humanitarian law "do not justify the use of excessive force against civilians under any circumstances even under the pretext of targeting armed resistance. "
It called on the UN Security Council to fulfill "its responsibility in maintaining peace and security and ensure the safety of civilians under Israeli military occupation."
The group also urged signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention to press Israel to meet its legal responsibilities.