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UN ends, suspends probes into 5 UNRWA staffers accused by means of Israel

A UN probe into Israeli allegations that 19 members of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees participated in the October 7 Hamas attacks has closed one case due to the absence of any evidence from Israel and suspended four others, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday.

UNRWA was swept into controversy in January when Israel accused 12 of its 30,000 employees of being involved in the shocking cross-border attack, which led to the deaths of around 1,160 people — mostly civilians — according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

The UN immediately fired the implicated staff members and launched an internal investigation to assess the agency’s neutrality, led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna.

In recent weeks, the UN received information on seven additional UNRWA staffers allegedly involved in the attack, leading to new investigations.

Dujarric said that of the initial group of 12 UNRWA members, one case was closed “as no evidence was provided by Israel to support the allegations against the staff member.”

“We are exploring corrective administrative action to be taken in that person’s case,” he said.

In addition, investigations into three other staffers were suspended, “as the information provided by Israel is not sufficient.”

Regarding the seven fresh cases, one of them was also suspended pending additional evidence from Israel.

The other accused staffers remain under investigation, Dujarric said.

An interim report published in March found that “UNRWA has in place a significant number of mechanisms and procedures to ensure compliance with the Humanitarian Principle of neutrality.”

But investigators “also identified critical areas that still need to be addressed,” it said.

Some 15 countries including the United States, Britain, Germany and Japan suspended funding to UNRWA following the Israeli allegations.

Canada and Sweden, which were among those states, have since resumed sending aid to the agency.

UNRWA is the largest aid organization in Gaza, employing around 13,000 staff in the territory where Israel’s bombardment has killed at least 34,356 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.


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