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international criminal court iccaLebanon’s Foreign Ministry welcomed Saturday the International Criminal Court’s decision to open an inquiry into attacks in Palestinian territories, paving the way for possible war crimes investigation against Israelis.

A Foreign Ministry statement expressed hope that the move would lead to “the prosecution of Israeli officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”

In a statement Friday, the court’s top prosecutor said the decision follows the Palestinians’ signing of the Rome Statute.

In doing so, they officially become ICC members on April 1, giving the court jurisdiction over alleged crimes in Palestinian territories.

While a preliminary examination is not a formal investigation, it allows the court to review evidence and determine whether to investigate suspects on both sides.

“There are no timelines provided in the Rome Statute for a decision on a preliminary examination,” the ICC said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the inquiry as an “outrage,” saying the court is overstepping its boundaries.

During the Gaza offensive last summer nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were killed.

More than 11,100 others, including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people, were injured in the war.

Meanwhile, authorities in Gaza have warned that more Palestinians in the besieged territory could still die as tens of thousands remain displaced in the wake of the latest Israeli offensive, waiting for funds for the reconstruction of their homes.

Palestinians have urged the ICC to also investigate Israel’s illegal settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian lands.

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