Israel: “UNRWA personnel involved in Hamas attack”

The UN agency suspends its staff and the US blocks the funds

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has received from Israel “information on the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on 7 October”. The head of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, said this, announcing that he had placed several employees under investigation and had severed all ties with them. Following this announcement, the United States suspended all funding to UNWRA, with 12 people implicated.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, has meanwhile assured that the United Nations will conduct “an independent, urgent and comprehensive review of UNWRA”. Guterres “is horrified by this news and has asked Lazzarini to swiftly investigate to ensure that any UNRWA employee proven to have participated in or encouraged what occurred on 7 October, or any other criminal activity”, is dismissed immediately and referred for possible criminal prosecution,” Dujarric said again.

The United States, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, is “extremely troubled by allegations that 12 UNRWA employees may have been involved in the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel” and has suspended funding to UNRWA. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Guterres, the spokesperson added, underlining that the United States welcomes both the decision for an internal investigation and a broad independent review of UNRWA.