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Israel Withdraws Claim Rocket Was In UN Ambulance

Israel Withdraws Charge That Driver Loaded Rocket Into UN Ambulance

The Israeli Government has withdrawn its charge that video footage showed a United Nations ambulance driver handling a rocket, acknowledging that the object was a stretcher as the world body had asserted.

Responding to the reversal, a spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement calling for correct handling of any further issues which might arise. "The Secretary-General expects the Government of Israel to share with the United Nations, through normal diplomatic channels, any information it might have so that the matter may be properly investigated."

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric also took the occasion to reiterate the integrity of the UN's humanitarian activities. "The Secretary-General is committed to preventing the illegal use of UN vehicles or facilities by armed militants," he stressed.

Earlier this month, the Israeli Government alleged that video images showed an ambulance driver with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) loading a Kassam rocket into his vehicle.

After an initial investigation, the Agency denied the charge and demanded an apology.

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