Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant described as "despicable" Tuesday a push by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor for warrants to arrest him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged war crimes in Gaza.

"The attempt made by the ICC prosecutor, Karim Khan, to turn things around will not succeed -- the parallel he has drawn between the Hamas terrorist organisation and the State of Israel is despicable," Gallant said in his first reaction to Khan's bid at the ICC.

"Prosecutor Karim Khan's attempt to deny the state of Israel the right to defend herself and ensure the release of the hostages held in Gaza must be rejected explicitly," Gallant said in a statement.

Top Israeli officials including President Isaac Herzog have slammed Khan's arrest bid against Netanyahu and Gallant.

Khan applied for arrest warrants against the two Israeli officials as well as three top Hamas leaders on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza.

He said he was seeking warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant for crimes including "wilful killing", "extermination and/or murder" and "starvation".

The charges laid against Hamas leaders, including its Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar and its overall leader Ismail Haniyeh, include "extermination", "rape and other acts of sexual violence", and "taking hostages as a war crime".

The war in Gaza broke out after Hamas's unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Palestinian militants also took 252 hostages during the attack, of whom 124 remain held in Gaza including 37 the army says are dead.

Two days after the war broke out following the Hamas attack, Gallant ordered a "complete siege" on the Gaza Strip's 2.4 million people as Israel's military pounded the territory with air strikes.

"No electricity, no food, no water, no gas -- it's all closed," Gallant said in a video message on October 9.

Israel's retaliatory offensive against Hamas has so far killed at least 35,562 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to figures provided by the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.