Israeli forces shot aid worker in the back, UN finds

26 November 2002

A British aid worker who died on Friday in the West Bank had been shot in the back by Israeli soldiers, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said today.

Iain Hook, who had been managing the rehabilitation of the Jenin refugee camp, was fatally wounded by a single bullet while in the UN compound at a time when there were no military activities going on in the building and only UNRWA staff were inside, a spokesman for the Agency told reporters in Geneva.

The shooting took place as Mr. Hook was organizing the evacuation of his staff. UNRWA summoned an ambulance, but the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) prevented it from reaching the victim for some time.

Voicing serious concern about the incident, the spokesman said it revealed a lack of respect - almost a disdain - for the international legal framework under which UNRWA and other organizations render humanitarian assistance.

UNRWA repeated its call for respect for the safety of its staff and humanitarian law.

Meanwhile in Gaza, the Agency released a statement indicating that at some point in the hours before he was shot, Mr. Hook “became aware that some armed men were attempting to gain entry to the UNRWA compound in Jenin.”

He approached them and told them that they were endangering his staff and jeopardizing the neutrality of the UN site, and the militants then left the area, according to the statement. “At no time did they gain access to the compound,” the Agency stressed.

 

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