UNITED NATIONS, UNITED STATES — Eighty-eight UN relief workers have been killed so far in the Israel-Hamas war, United Nations’ agency chiefs said, calling for a ceasefire.
“For almost a month, the world has been watching the unfolding situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in shock and horror at the spiralling numbers of lives lost and torn apart,” the heads of 18 UN organizations including UNICEF and the World Health Organization said in a rare joint statement late Sunday.
“Scores of aid workers have been killed since October 7 including 88 UNRWA colleagues — the highest number of United Nations fatalities ever recorded in a single conflict,” they said, referring to the UN relief and works agency for Palestinian refugees.
During the last heavy conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, in 2014, 11 UNRWA staff were killed, according to the United Nations.
The UNRWA currently employs some 13,000 staff in the Gaza Strip, a besieged territory that is home to 2.4 million people.
The agency chiefs expressed revulsion at the toll on both sides since the October 7 cross-border attack by Hamas Palestinian militants from Gaza into Israel, which left about 1,400 people dead, mainly civilians, Israeli authorities say.
Israel has retaliated with relentless air and artillery strikes that have killed at least 10,000 people, also mostly civilians, as of Monday, according to a new toll announced by the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.