Report: UN Staff Member from India Fatally Wounded in Gaza

UN Staff Member from India

A person affiliated with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (DSS) was killed. Although the victim’s identity remains undisclosed, PTI sources verified that the individual was of Indian nationality and had previously served in the Indian Army.

United Nations: An Indian UN worker was killed in Gaza during an attack on the vehicle he was traveling in Rafah, marking the first international casualty for the organization since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The person was employed by the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (DSS). Although the victim’s identity remains undisclosed, PTI sources confirmed that he was of Indian nationality and a former member of the Indian Army.

The Indian UN staff member killed in Rafah represents the first fatality among international UN personnel in Gaza since the commencement of the Israel-Hamas conflict following the October 7 terrorist attacks. Another DSS employee sustained injuries in the incident while traveling to the European Hospital in Rafah.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed profound sadness upon hearing about the passing of a United Nations Department of Safety and Security (DSS) staff member and the injury of another DSS employee when their UN vehicle was hit as they were en route to the European Hospital in Rafah on Monday morning.

In a statement released by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Guterres denounced any assaults on UN personnel and urged for a thorough investigation. He extended his sympathies to the family of the deceased staff member.

The statement emphasized that amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which is causing significant harm to both civilians and humanitarian workers, the Secretary-General restated his pressing call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the liberation of all hostages.

In a post on X, Guterres mentioned that the UN vehicle was hit in Gaza, resulting in the death of one colleague and injury to another. He noted that over 190 UN staff members have lost their lives in Gaza.

He emphasized the necessity of safeguarding humanitarian workers and denounced any assaults on UN personnel. He reiterated his immediate call for a humanitarian ceasefire and the liberation of all hostages.

During the press briefing, Haq stated that they are currently informing the appropriate governments and family members, so he refrained from disclosing any names or nationalities at this time. He clarified that the individuals involved were international staff.

Haq verified that this marks the initial instance of an international UN casualty. Although there have been international casualties among workers for the World Central Kitchen in Gaza, Haq noted that he was not previously aware of any international casualties among UN staff.

Haq explained that the vehicle was en route to the hospital as part of their routine duties, which involve visiting various locations to evaluate security conditions. Specifically, they were heading to the European hospital in Rafah.

When questioned about the specifics of how their vehicle was hit, Haq mentioned that the incident occurred quite recently, and they are still gathering information. They anticipate receiving reports, including from the appropriate authorities.

He also mentioned that nearly 190 UN personnel have lost their lives in Gaza since October 7, with the majority being national staff of the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA. Haq further stated that the UN intends to establish mechanisms for accountability. However, many of these efforts depend on resolving the conflict. Nonetheless, they will collaborate with local authorities to seek justice for all those who have been killed.

Haq mentioned that he lacked comprehensive information regarding whether the struck vehicle was part of a larger convoy. He indicated that he believed it was within a moving convoy, and specifically, it was the DSS vehicle that was impacted.

In a statement on X, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, conveyed deep sadness upon learning about the death of a UN humanitarian worker and the injury of another in Gaza.

The WHO chief emphasized that the toll on civilian and humanitarian lives due to this conflict has been excessively high. He called for an immediate ceasefire and efforts to pursue peace.

In April, seven individuals from the World Central Kitchen lost their lives in an IDF airstrike in Gaza. Among those who died in the attack was Zomi Frankcom, who, as per reports, was of Indian origin.

Between October 7, 2023, and May 12, 2024, at least 35,091 Palestinians have died and 78,827 have been injured in Gaza, as reported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

As of my last update in January 2022, Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by some countries and entities, including Israel, the United States, and the European Union, Because of its track record of violence, targeting civilians, and refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.