STORY: The International Criminal Court's prosecutor has requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense chief Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement on Monday that he had reasonable grounds to believe that all "bear criminal responsibility" for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Hamas leaders' arrest warrants were for the group's chief Yahya Sinwar; Mohammed Al-Masri, the commander-in-chief of its military wing, and Ismail Haniyeh, head of its Political Bureau.

"Those who do not comply with the law should not complain later when my office takes action based on solid evidence. That day has come. Today, we underline in the clearest possible fashion that international law and the laws of armed conflict apply to everyone. No foot soldier, no commander, no civilian leader - no one - can act with impunity."

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said accepting the ICC prosecutors' decision, quote, "would harm the ability of any country to defend its citizens and will constitute a crime of historic proportion."

Gallant and Netanyahu have overseen Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza since the Palestinian militant group's deadly October 7 raid on Israel.

Some 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 taken hostage in the rampage, according to Israeli tallies.

Since then, at least 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war in Gaza, according to the enclave's health ministry.

And aid agencies have also warned of widespread hunger, a risk of famine, and dire shortages of fuel and medical supplies.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders have both previously dismissed allegations of committing war crimes.

Khan said evidence collected by his office showed Israel had systematically deprived civilians of "objects indispensable to human survival," including restricting food, water, medicine and energy.

Netanyahu and Gallant bore responsibility, he said, for Israel wilfully causing great suffering and for killing as a war crime.

The Hamas leaders face allegations of bearing responsibility for crimes committed by the militant group, including extermination and murder, the taking of hostages, torture, rape and other acts of sexual violence.

It will now be up to a panel of pre-trial judges to determine whether the evidence from the ICC prosecutors' office supports the issuing of arrest warrants.

The ICC's 124 member states are obliged to immediately arrest the wanted person if they are on a member state's territory.

However, it has no means to enforce arrest warrants - and its investigation into the Gaza war has been opposed by the United States and Israel, neither of whom are members of the ICC.