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Spain applies to join South Africa’s case at top UN court accusing Israel of genocide

Spain will ask a United Nations court for permission to join South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza, its foreign minister announced Thursday.

Spain is the first European country to take the step after South Africa filed its case with the International Court of Justice late last year. It alleged that Israel was breaching the genocide convention in its military assault that has laid waste to large swaths of Gaza.

Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, Libya and the Palestinians have already requested to join the case.

The court has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah but stopped short of ordering a cease-fire for the enclave. Israel has not complied.

“We take the decision because of the ongoing military operation in Gaza,” Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said. “We want peace to return to Gaza and the Middle East, and for that to happen we must all support the court.”

Israel denies it is committing genocide in its military operation to crush Hamas triggered by its deadly Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel.

Hamas killed 1,200 people and took 250 more hostage in the surprise attacks. Israel’s air and land attacks have killed 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Spain, Norway and Ireland formally recognized a Palestinian state on May 28 in a coordinated effort by the three Western European nations to add international pressure on Israel.

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