At least 11 UN staff and personnel, as well as 30 students at UN schools, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Hamas militants launched their attack on Israel, a spokesman said Wednesday.
“11 UNRWA staff and personnel have been killed since Saturday,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters, referring to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees which also runs schools in Gaza.
“30 UNRWA students have also been killed and another eight have been injured.”
The dead included five teachers, a gynecologist, an engineer, a counselor and three support staff, UNRWA’s deputy director Jennifer Austin said in a statement.
“UNRWA mourns this loss and is grieving with our colleagues and the families,” she said.
“UN staff and civilians must be protected at all times during conflict. We call for the fighting to come to an end to spare more civilian lives lost.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called for civilians to be protected, and international humanitarian law to be upheld, as Israel on Wednesday kept up its bombardment of Hamas targets in Gaza.
“About 220,000 Palestinians are now sheltering in 92 UNRWA facilities across Gaza,” he said, adding that UN premises, hospitals, clinics and schools must “never be targeted.”
“UN staff are working around the clock to support the people of Gaza and I deeply regret that some of my colleagues have already paid the ultimate price,” he said.
And he called for “crucial” aid — including fuel, food and water — to be allowed in to the Gaza Strip.
“We need rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access now.”