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Un Palestine Relief Agency Condemns Killing

Un Palestine Relief Agency Condemns Killing Of Staff Member


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA><"http://www.un.org/unrwa/news/releases/pr-2006/leb_15aug06.pdf">UNRWA) has spoken out against the “senseless and tragic” killing of one of its workers, who died in Lebanon during an Israeli air attack just 20 minutes before the Security Council-mandate cessation of hostilities took effect on Monday morning.

Abdel Saghir, a sanitation worker, was felled when Israeli aircraft targeted a Palestinian faction in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in Saida with two missiles fired into a civilian residential area, UNRWA said, strongly condemning the incident and pointing out that the staff member was working to help others in the war-torn country.

“He was carrying out his duties in the most difficult of circumstances, helping to prevent outbreaks of disease in the camp where Palestine refugees and displaced Lebanese have been largely trapped by the conflict of the last month,” the agency said in a press release. “That he was killed just as hostilities were about to cease makes his death particularly senseless and tragic.

Richard Cook, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, expressed the Agency’s sadness at the loss of Mr. Saghir and offered his condolences to his family. “There can be no justification for firing two missiles into a densely populated civilian refugee camp whose residents have taken no part whatsoever in the recent conflict,” he said. "It shows a total disregard for innocent lives and the obligations of International humanitarian law. It was a matter of chance that in such a crowded camp there were not more deaths and injuries.

Mr. Saghir, 48, leaves behind a wife and three children.

In addition to the death of Mr. Saghir, who had worked for UNRWA for 21 years, three refugees were injured by the explosions and a number of refugee shelters were damaged. Ein el-Hilweh is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, with a population of over 47,000 people crammed into an extremely small area, the Agency said. On 9 August, two people, one a child, were killed when shells were fired from an Israeli gunboat at the vicinity of the camp.

Ends

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