UN faults Israel over deadly 2018 crackdown on Gaza protests

U.N.-backed investigators say Israeli soldiers intentionally fired on civilians and could have committed crimes against humanity during crackdowns against Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza last year that left 189 people dead.

The independent Commission of Inquiry mandated by the Human Rights Council said more than 6,000 people were shot by military snipers using live ammunition to repel protesters near the separation fence.

The panel said Thursday that civilians who did not pose an "imminent threat" were among those killed and injured. It acknowledged significant violence linked to the demonstrations, but said they did not amount to combat campaigns, essentially rejecting an Israeli claim of "terror activities" by Palestinian armed groups.

It also faulted Hamas, which runs Gaza, for not preventing use of incendiary kites during the protests.