UNRWA staff probed for October 7 involvement, US halts funding

The United Nations Palestinian company (UNRWA) stated on Friday it had opened a probe into the alleged involvement of a number of of its staff within the Oct. 7 assaults in southern Israel by Hamas, and that it had severed ties with these staff members.

“The Israeli authorities have provided UNRWA with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on October 7,” stated Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General.

“To protect the agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay.” Lazzarini didn’t disclose the variety of staff allegedly concerned within the assaults, nor the character of their alleged involvement.

He stated, nevertheless, that “any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror” can be held accountable, together with by way of prison prosecution.

UNRWA says allegations are stunning

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has been briefed in regards to the allegations, his spokesperson stated.

Palestinian staff of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) participate in a protest in opposition to job cuts by UNRWA, in Gaza City September 19, 2018. (credit score: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

“The Secretary-General is horrified by this news,” stated spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

Dujarric added that the U.N. chief had requested Lazzarini to conduct a probe to make sure that any UNRWA worker proven to have participated or abetted the Oct. 7 assaults be terminated instantly and referred for potential prison prosecution.


“An urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA will be conducted,” Dujarric added.

UNRWA, established in 1949 following the primary Arab-Israeli conflict, supplies providers together with education, major healthcare and humanitarian support to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

UNRWA has offered support and used its services to shelter folks fleeing bombardment and a floor offensive launched by Israel in Gaza following the Oct. 7 assaults, during which Israel says 1,200 folks have been killed and 253 folks taken hostage.

“These shocking allegations come as more than 2 million people in Gaza depend on lifesaving assistance that the agency has been providing since the war began,” Lazzarini stated.

The United States is troubled by the allegations that 12 UNRWA staff might have been concerned within the Oct. 7 Hamas assault on Israel and has quickly paused funding, the State Department stated on Friday.

“The Department of State has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them,” spokesperson Matthew Miller stated.

Israel’s offensive has laid waste to a lot of the densely populated Gaza Strip and killed greater than 25,000 Palestinians, in accordance with the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Health Ministry. 

UNRWA, whose greatest donors in 2022 have been the United States, Germany, the European Union and Sweden, has repeatedly stated its capability to render humanitarian help to folks in Gaza is on the breaking point.

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