The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced it opened a preliminary probe into possible war crimes in Palestinian territories.

The probe could clear the way for a full investigation into potential war crimes, prosecutors Fatou Bensoud said in a statement, AP reported.

Bensoud revealed the probe will be conducted with "full independence and impartiality".

The announcement came a few weeks after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Palestine will join the ICC on 1 April.

In reaction to the Palestinian application to the ICC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the withholding of £83m in Palestinian tax revenues that pay the salaries of the Palestinian Authority. The US State Department condemned the action.

"We conveyed to the Israelis that freezing the tax revenues is an action that raises tensions," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "We oppose any actions that raise tensions and we call on both sides to avoid it."