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Head of UN inquiry into war crimes in Gaza conflict resigns

The head of a United Nations inquiry into the conflict in Gaza has announced his resignation after Israel accused him of bias.

UK-based academic William Schabas was appointed by the head of the UN Human Rights Council to lead an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during Israel's military operation in Gaza last year.

William Schabas was appointed to lead an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during Israel's military operation in Gaza last year Credit: Reuters

Israel had criticised his appointment, citing his record as a critic of the state and its leadership, and the Council had sought legal advice after it emerged he was paid $1,300 (£865) to provide a legal opinion for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 2012.

Reuters news agency reports that Schabas sent a letter to the commission stating he would step down immediately to prevent the issue from overshadowing the findings of the report, which is due to be released in March.

He also defended his work for the PLO.

My views on Israel and Palestine as well as on many other issues were well known and very public... This work in defence of human rights appears to have made me a huge target for malicious attacks.

I believe that it is difficult for the work to continue while a procedure is underway to consider hether the chair of the commission should be removed.

– William Schabas

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Middle East on edge after Hezbollah attack on Israel frontier

The Middle East is on edge tonight after a missile fired by Hezbollah fighters at a military convoy killed two Israeli soldiers.

It is the Islamic Militant group's most deadly attack on Israeli forces since their five week war nearly a decade ago.

Israel has promised to do whatever it takes to defend itself.

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports:

White House condems Hezbollah 'act of violence'

Credit: Reuters

The United States has condemned the deadly attack by Hezbollah on an Israeli military convoy that killed two Israeli soldiers, and urged both sides to "refrain from actions that could escalate the situation", according to Reuters.

"We urge all parties to refrain from any action that could escalate the situation," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a daily briefing.

A Spanish UN peacekeeper was also killed, but it is not yet known which side is responsible for his death, a UN spokesperson said.

Spanish PM offers condolences to family of UN peacekeeper

The Spanish Prime Minister has expressed his "deepest sympathy" to the family of the Spanish UN peacekeeper who was killed during fighting near the Israeli/Lebanese border earlier today.

In a Spanish-language tweet, Mariano Rajoy Brey said: "My deepest sympathy on the death of Spanish military in Lebanon . My love and condolences to his family and companions."

Netanyahu: Those responsible for convoy attack will 'pay full price'

Those responsible for the deadly attack on an Israeli military convoy near southern Lebanon "will pay the full price", the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.

Mr Netanyahu was speaking ahead of consultations with Israeli security chiefs on further military response to the Hezbollah assault.

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Spanish UN peacekeeper killed in southern Lebanon

Burning vehicles are seen near the village of Ghajar on Israel's border with Lebanon. Credit: Reuters

The United Nations peacekeeper killed in southern Lebanon today was Spanish, Associated Press has reported.

Zeina Karam, AP's Beruit Bureau Chief says that the Israeli ambassador has called Spain's foreign minister today offering condolences for the death of the UN peacekeeper.

The peacekeeper, serving with a UN monitoring force in southern Lebanon, was killed as Israel responded with air strikes and artillery fire, a UN spokesman and Spanish officials said.

Lebanese PM: We are still committed to UN resolution

Lebanon has said that it is still committed to the UN resolution that ended a war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.

"The Lebanon reaffirms its commitment to Security Council resolution 1701," Prime Minister Tammam Salam said in a statement published by Lebanon's National News Agency, according to Reuters.

Salam's comments come in the aftermath of a Lebanese Hezbollah group attack on anIsraeli military convoy, which prompted retaliation from Israeli security forces.

United Nations peacekeeper killed in Lebanon

Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah group have been trading fire around the frontier area. Credit: Reuters

A UN peacekeeper has been killed in Lebanon although it is not clear if it is linked to clashes between the country and Israel.

The death was confirmed by a UN spokesman and the organisation said they were "looking into the circumstances of the tragic incident".

Andrea Tenenti, spokesman for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, said the incident happened close to the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area.

Lebanese Hezbollah group fired a missile at an Isreali military convoy, prompting retaliation.

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