Inquiry on incidents in Gaza Strip attributes hits to Israeli army

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UNRWA premisses in Gaza. Photo: UNRWA

The results of an inquiry regarding incidents affecting UN personnel, premises and operations in the Gaza Strip during last July's 50-day war found that hits were attributable to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

In November, an internal and independent panel was set up by the UN Secretary-General to investigate what had been described as "serious violations of international law" during fighting between Israel and the Palestinian faction, Hamas.

The findings were submitted to the Security Council and other bodies on Monday.

Ana Carmo reports.

The UN Secretary-General's Board of Inquiry reviewed and investigated seven incidents which resulted in the destruction of UN facilities, killing 44 Palestinians and injuring at least another 227, including women and children.

The Board also reviewed three incidents involving weapons found in schools operated by the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).

The inquiry found that in all cases investigated when UN schools were hit directly or in the immediate vicinity, the hit was attributable to the Israeli Defence Forces.

UNRWA said this happened despite numerous notifications to the Israeli army of the precise GPS coordinates of the schools, as well as numerous notifications about the presence of displaced people.

The Board also found there had been no weapons fired from the schools or found inside of them.

Farhan Haq is the Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

Reflecting his personal anguish at this deplorable turn of events, the Secretary-General notes: “The agony of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and the tragic, decades-long predicament they endure there, is reflected in the report of the Board of Inquiry. We should also bear in mind that Israeli civilians in southern Israel continue to face the threat of rocket and terrorist attacks by Hamas and other militant groups.”

Ban Ki-moon added that they have a right to live in peace and security, free from the threat of violence and terrorism.

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration: 1’30″

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