UN sacks employees involved in Hamas October 7 attack on Israel

Friday, January 26, 2024
 – The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said on Friday, January 26, it had sacked several employees accused by Israel of involvement in Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack.

Following the move, the US has also stopped critical funding of the agency.

The decision had been taken “to protect the agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance”, said UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini.

“Any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution,” he said.

The United States was the agency’s biggest bilateral donor in 2022, contributing more than $340 million, according to UNRWA’s website.

Israeli authorities had provided information about the staff members’ alleged involvement, Lazzarini said.

UN chief Antonio Guterres “is horrified” by the accusations and an “urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA will be conducted”, said his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The US State Department said it was “extremely troubled” by the allegations. It said it has “temporarily paused additional funding” while it reviewed the claims and the UN’s plan to address concerns.

Twelve employees “may have been involved”, it added.

The unprecedented October 7 Hamas attack resulted in the death of around 1,140 people in Israel. Most of the victims were civilians.

Militants also captured about 250 hostages. Israel says around 132 of them remain in Gaza, including the bodies of at least 28 dead captives.

At least 26,083 Palestinians, around 70 percent of them women, young children and adolescents, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments and ground offensivee according to the Hamas government’s health ministry.

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