Death Toll of UNRWA Staff in Gaza Strip Increases to 88: IASC
© AP Photo / Mohammed AlaswadPalestinians evacuate families from their homes following an Israeli airstrike
© AP Photo / Mohammed Alaswad
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - In response to the October 7 Hamas attack, Israel retaliated by imposing a complete blockade on the Palestinian Gaza Strip, home to more than 2 million people, cutting off water, food and fuel supplies and killing some 10,000 civilians. Israel later launched a ground invasion of Gaza.
The death toll of UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) staff in the Gaza Strip has risen to 88, marking the highest number of UN staff killed in a single conflict, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) said on Monday.
"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," the IASC said in a statement, which was signed by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Catherine Russell and others.
The signatories of the document reiterated their call for the immediate release of hostages and a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
The UNRWA added that it could not get in touch with most of its members of staff in the Gaza Strip due to a communications blackout.
Earlier in the day, Palestinian telecoms company Paltel said mobile and internet services in the Gaza Strip were down once again, due to Israel cutting off the main routes. Shortly later, Israel announced that its troops advanced deep into the north of the Palestinian exclave and positioned themselves along the coast.
"Right now the GazaStrip is experiencing a communications blackout. UNRWA is not able to get through to the vast majority of our team," the UN mission said on X.
"This is the third communications blackout over the past 10 days. Gazans are completely cut off from their loved ones and the rest of the world," it added.
On October 7, Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel from Gaza, killing and abducting people in neighboring Israeli communities. Israel retaliated with missile strikes and a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip. On October 27, Israel launched a large-scale ground incursion into Gaza with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas and rescuing the hostages.