Turkish President warns Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu he’ll be ‘tried as a war criminal’

The president of Turkey has said Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be tried as a war criminal over Gaza.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted on Tuesday (December 5) Israel should not be allowed to “get away” with alleged crimes committed in the Hamas-run territory.

In an address to a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha, Mr Erdogan also accused Mr Netanyahu, who is entangled in legal troubles in Israel, of allegedly putting the entire region in danger for his own political survival.

He said in televised comments: “The Netanyahu administration is endangering the security and future of our entire region in order to extend its political life. The loss of life of 17,000 Palestinians, mostly children and women, is a crime against humanity and a war crime. Israel should not get away with these crimes.”

A vocal and prominent critic of Israel’s war in Gaza, Mr Erdogan has repeatedly called for Mr Netanyahu to be put on trial for alleged war crimes.

Meanwhile, the ruler of Qatar, which has played a key role in mediating between Israel and Hamas, has accused Israel of carrying out “crimes of genocide” in Gaza.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani lashed out at Israel at the summit of Gulf Arab leaders in Doha. He said “all religious, ethical and humanitarian values have been violated in occupied Palestine through crimes the occupation forces are committing against humanity”.

Israel argues it is acting in self-defence after Hamas launched an attack deep into southern Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people and capturing scores of men, women and children.

Qatar’s emir said self-defence “doesn’t permit the crimes of genocide that Israel is committing”. The war has killed more than 15,000 people in Gaza, 70 percent of them being women and children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

Tel Aviv says it makes every effort to spare civilians and accuses Hamas of using them as human shields. Qatar has long hosted a Hamas political office and some of the group’s top leaders are based there.

It comes as Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Turkish intelligence officials have warned their Israeli counterparts of “serious consequences” if they try to target members of Hamas on Turkish soil.

The warning, reported by the Anadolu Agency on Monday, came after Ronen Bar, the head of Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet, said in an audio recording that his organisation is prepared to destroy Hamas “in every place”, including Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar.

Anadolu Agency, quoting unnamed Turkish intelligence officials, said “necessary warnings were made” to Israeli officials who were told their actions would “have serious consequences”.

The agency also quoted the officials as saying Turkey had prevented “illegal activities” by foreign operatives in the past and no foreign intelligence agency would be allowed to carry out operations on Turkish territory.

Israel’s Mossad spy agency has been accused of involvement in a series of assassinations overseas of Palestinian militants and Iranian nuclear scientists over the years.

Turkey has hosted Hamas officials and Mr Erdogan has said his government considers Hamas to be a liberation organisation, not a terrorist group.

Satellite photos showed on Tuesday that the Israeli military has begun a ground offensive in the southern reaches of the Gaza Strip as part of its ongoing war against Hamas.

Since the collapse of a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli military has launched an intense campaign of airstrikes and ground fighting in the southern Gaza Strip as well.

The satellite images released by Planet Labs PBC provide the first clear look at the intensity and scope at which the Israelis are fighting.

Taken on Sunday, the images show Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers just under 3.7 miles (6km) north of the heart of Khan Younis, the major city of the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Many who fled the Israeli offensive and airstrike campaign in Gaza City’s north now live around Khan Younis and other nearby areas after the Israeli military ordered them to evacuate.

The Israeli military said it takes all feasible measures to mitigate harm to noncombatants. The Israeli deployment sits just to the west of Salah al-Din, a main north-south corridor within the Gaza Strip which many Palestinians used to flee.

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