Tel Aviv: The United Nations has expressed its grief and outrage over the death of more than 100 of its aid workers in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The UN Aid Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Monday that the latest victim was a staff member who was killed along with her family in the north of the Gaza Strip due to Israeli attacks in the past 24 hours.
According to CNN, this is the highest number of UN aid workers killed in any conflict in UN history. UN offices around the world lowered their flags to half-mast on Monday and observed a moment of silence to honor and mourn their colleagues who lost their lives in Gaza.
The UNRWA said that the majority of its staff members killed in Gaza were teachers, social workers, health workers, and engineers who were providing vital services to the Palestinian refugees. The agency also said that 27 of its employees have been injured and many of its facilities have been damaged or destroyed by the Israeli bombardment.
The UNRWA called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and urged all parties to respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians. The agency also appealed for more funding to cope with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where more than 11,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed since the war began on October 7. Among the dead, two-thirds were women and minors, while 2,700 remain missing.
On the Israeli side, more than 1,200 people have died, mostly from Hamas rocket attacks. Palestinian militants have also taken about 240 Israelis hostage and transferred them to Gaza.
The conflict erupted after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, claiming it was in response to Israeli violations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. Israel retaliated by targeting Hamas positions in Gaza, triggering a cycle of violence that has not abated despite international efforts to broker a ceasefire.