Israeli Soldiers Fire on UN Aid Workers



by FARUK IMAMOVIC

Israeli Soldiers Fire on UN Aid Workers
© Getty Images/Amir Levy

A United Nations aid convoy came under fire from Israeli soldiers on Thursday, according to Thomas White, the Director of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza. The incident, which occurred as the convoy returned from Northern Gaza, raises serious questions about the safety of humanitarian operations in the region.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported, but the incident underscores the perilous nature of aid work in conflict zones.

UNRWA's Response

The convoy, comprising seven UN vehicles, including two armored ones, was unmistakably marked with "UN" insignia, highlighting its humanitarian purpose.

Juliette Touma, UNRWA Communications Director, informed CNN that the incident took place between Gaza City and Nuseirat, south of Wadi Gaza. This occurrence happened after the convoy had passed through an Israeli checkpoint and had been directed to change its route.

The reasons behind the route change and the timing of the firing remain unclear, adding to the complexities of this incident.

Investigation and Statements

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have acknowledged awareness of the reports and are conducting an investigation.

IDF spokesperson Doron Spielman stated to CNN, "We never, ever intentionally fire on a humanitarian organization." He promised transparency if the investigation confirms a mistake on their part.

Meanwhile, Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, condemned the attack, emphasizing the unlawfulness of targeting humanitarian workers.

His statement reflects the broader challenges faced by aid groups in Gaza, where an acute hunger crisis is worsening amid ongoing conflict. Griffiths painted a grim picture of the conditions, citing constant bombardments, damaged roads, and delays at checkpoints, all complicating the delivery of much-needed aid.

Broader Implications

This incident not only poses immediate concerns for the safety of aid workers but also brings into focus the larger humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The UN's efforts to alleviate suffering are being hampered by the ongoing conflict, making the provision of aid increasingly difficult.