Number of UNRWA workers killed in Israeli attacks rises to 188

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Tuesday that the number of its employees killed in Israeli attacks since Oct. 7 has risen to 188.

“As of 5 May, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is 188,” UNRWA said in its recent report on “The Situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” indicating “an increase of six” deaths since its previous report released on April 30.

The report added that the Israeli army continues its air, land and sea attacks on the Gaza Strip, resulting in increased civilian casualties, infrastructure damage, and Palestinian displacement.

It underlined that the body’s Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini issued a statement “highlighting the continual denial of humanitarian access by the Israeli authorities, which is in violation of humanitarian law.”

“For the second time, the UNRWA Commissioner-General has been denied entry into the Gaza Strip to meet with UNRWA teams, including those on the front lines. Over the last two weeks, UNRWA has recorded over 10 incidents involving shooting at convoys, and bullying and harassment of UN staff,” it stated.

Emphasizing that “On 3 May, WHO confirmed that only one-third of Gaza’s 36 hospitals and 30 per cent of primary health care centers are functional in some capacity amid repeated attacks and shortages of vital medical supplies, fuel, and staff,” it stated that “UNRWA currently operates eight out of 23 health centres across the Gaza Strip.”

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip in retaliation for an Oct. 7 Hamas attack, which killed about 1,200 people. Nearly 34,800 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and 78,100 others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.