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Inconsistencies appear in Israel UNRWA 7 October allegations

Inconsistencies appear in Israel UNRWA 7 October allegations, casting doubt on their veracity
3 min read
01 February, 2024
Israel had claimed that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in Hamas' 7 October attack, and several countries suspended their funding to the agency in response.
Israel claimed last week that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the 7 October attack [Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty]

Inconsistencies are appearing in Israel's as of yet unproven allegations against UNRWA staff involvement in Hamas's October 7 attacks on Southern Israel, which killed scores of Israeli soldiers and civilians.

While Israel claimed last week that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the 7 October attack, with several countries suspending funding to the agency which provides vital support to Palestinians, Sky News said on Tuesday that it had seen an Israeli intelligence report shared with foreign governments that said that six UNRWA employees were part of the attack.

Four of them were allegedly involved in kidnapping Israelis, while another worker allegedly provided "logistics support". It is unclear what role the sixth UNRWA staff member allegedly played.

The British news outlet said that the report also claimed that of some 12,000 UNRWA employees in the Gaza Strip, "10% are Hamas/PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] operatives and about 50% are first-degree relatives with a Hamas operative".

Israel made the claims about the 12 employees in a dossier provided to the US government that surfaced last week.

UNRWA was also informed verbally of the names of the 12 employees, prompting the UN agency to terminate the contracts of several of them. Two of them are confirmed dead. UNRWA however said no evidence has been shared other than the names and allegations, while the UN launched an independent investigation through the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

In response to the claims, the agency fired nine of the 12 people named in the dossier, UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Sunday.

Several countries suspended funding to the agency in response, including the US.

The halt to funding has been condemned by several NGOs as being a cruel form of punishment for Palestinians in Gaza for whom famine is already looming.

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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said earlier this week that the claims about the UNRWA employees had not been "born out" - despite the US having already announced that it was suspending aid to the agency.

Israel launched its brutal onslaught on Gaza on 7 October, after the Hamas attack it claims UNRWA employees were involved in.

More than 27,000 people have been killed since then.

Israel has faced fierce criticism throughout the war for spreading disinformation about Hamas or Palestinian civilians before backtracking on the claims.

Through its account on X, the Israeli state has continued to say on Thursday that 12 UNRWA employees participated in the 7 October massacre and has not provided an explanation for the inconsistency.

Asked by a reporter on the apparent inconsistency, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said "al of that is going to be looked at by OIOS".


Editor's Note: This article has been revised to incorporate the latest statement from the United Nations addressing apparent inconsistencies in Israel's UNRWA allegations. It is important to clarify that the source of these discrepancies is not an official revision by Israel, as initially reported. Rather, the inconsistencies stem from documents that Israel is sharing with Western media outlets, and it appears that different versions of these documents contain variations.