UNRWA Is Investigating Charges of Workers’ Involvement in Oct. 7 Attacks

The United Nations on Friday fired 12 of its staff in Gaza and started an investigation of them after prices by Israel that that they had helped plan and took part in the Oct. 7 terrorist assault that left 1,400 Israelis useless or captured.

The employees, all males and all employed by the U.N. company that aids Palestinians and identified by the acronym UNRWA, are topic to a prison investigation, two U.N. officers mentioned.

A U.N. official, briefed on the accusations, referred to as the allegations “extremely serious and horrific.”

Israel, which introduced the allegations to the U.N. earlier this week, has beforehand accused UNRWA, which gives social and teaching programs in the Gaza Strip, of fueling anti-Israeli incitement. The beautiful accusation and the U.N.’s swift response, nonetheless, distinction with earlier U.N. denials of Israeli allegations.

“UNRWA reiterates its condemnation in the strongest possible terms of the abhorrent attacks,” mentioned Mr. Lazzarini. “Any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.”

The accusations led to swift motion by the United States, one of the company’s largest donors, which briefly halted funding to the group. UNWRA has been the principal company overseeing the distribution of help to Gazans amid a rising humanitarian disaster ensuing from the battle launched in the wake of the Oct. 7 assault.

Mr. Lazzarini mentioned the allegations got here a time when greater than two million Gazans are relying on the U.N. company for meals, drugs and different crucial help. “Anyone who betrays the fundamental values of the United Nations also betrays those whom we serve in Gaza, across the region and elsewhere around the world,” he mentioned.

Israel and the U.N. have every accused one another of performing in dangerous religion since Israel launched its battle in Gaza following the Oct. 7 Hamas-led assault, which Israeli officers say killed about 1,200 folks. The U.N. has accused Israel of slowing the supply of humanitarian help to the embattled enclave, and Israel has mentioned the world physique has promoted Hamas’s propaganda.

Those allegations, nonetheless, are much less politically delicate than the accusation that humanitarian employees may have engaged in an act of terror, an allegation being taken significantly by the U.N. secretariat, the United States and the European Union, UNRWA’s largest donors.

The U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, spoke on Thursday with the U.N. secretary basic, António Guterres, and referred to as for “a thorough and swift investigation,” the State Department mentioned. Mr. Blinken additionally informed the U.N.’s chief that the United States was asking Israel, which initially made the allegation, for extra info.

UNRWA, or the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, is one of Gaza’s largest employers, with 13,000 employees, and drives a lot of the enclave’s schooling, well being and meals help operations. During the battle, it has performed a crucial position in overseeing the distribution of meals and medical help in Gaza.

United Nations officers have repeatedly mentioned extraordinary residents of Gaza are in danger of hunger and are experiencing a spike in infectious illnesses because the climate will get colder.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the E.U.’s prime diplomat and vp of the European Commission, mentioned he was “extremely concerned” in regards to the allegation that U.N. staff had been concerned in the terrorist assaults. He mentioned that the Commission was in contact with UNRWA and anticipated it to take quick measures in opposition to the workers concerned.

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