UNRWA chief says again barred entry to Gaza by Israel

UNRWA chief says again barred entry to Gaza by Israel
UNRWA chief says again barred entry to Gaza by Israel

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said Sunday that Israeli authorities had barred him from entering Gaza for a second time since the Israel-Hamas war started on October 7. — AFP pic

JERUSALEM, May 6 — The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said yesterday that Israeli authorities had barred him from entering Gaza for a second time since the Israel-Hamas war started on October 7.

“Just this week, they have denied — for the second time — my entry to Gaza where I planned to be with our UNRWA colleagues including those on the front lines,” Philippe Lazzarini wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Lazzarini has been to Gaza four times since the war broke out, including on March 17.

“The Israeli authorities continue to deny humanitarian access to the United Nations,” he said on Sunday.

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“Only in the past two weeks, we have recorded 10 incidents involving shooting at convoys, arrests of UN staff including bullying, stripping them naked, threats with arms & long delays at checkpoints forcing convoys to move during the dark or abort,” Lazzarini said.

He also called for an “independent investigation” into rocket fire that led to the closure of a key Israel-Gaza aid crossing.

Hamas’s armed wing, Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for Sunday’s rocket launches, saying militants had targeted Israeli troops in the area of Kerem Shalom crossing.

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Later Sunday, the Israeli army said it struck a Hamas command and control centre in central Gaza.

“Hamas intentionally positioned the command and control position within the vicinity of an active UNRWA location, jeopardising the Gazan civilians taking refuge there,” the army said in a statement.

It said the centre was used as a “staging ground for multiple attacks on IDF (army) troops in Gaza’s central corridor in recent weeks”.

UNRWA was swept into controversy in January when Israel accused several of its 30,000 employees of being involved in the shocking cross-border Hamas attack on October 7.

UNRWA is the largest aid organisation in Gaza, employing around 13,000 staff in the territory itself where Israel’s bombardment has killed at least 34,683 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. — AFP

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