An international UN worker is killed in Gaza

The United Nations said one staff member was killed Monday when one of its convoys came under fire in Rafah. It is the first time an international UN staff member has been killed in Gaza since the conflict began last October.

The convoy, which the UN said was clearly marked with the organisation's emblem, was headed to Gaza's European Hospital in Khan Younis to assess the aid and security situation when it came under fire, according to Farhan Haq, United Nations spokesperson. .

Another staff member was injured in the attack, the United Nations said.

The nationality of the killed worker, a man, was not immediately disclosed. Jordan's Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that the injured staff member, a woman, was Jordanian and said the incident was “the result of the expansion of Israeli military operations in Rafah,” adding that Jordan ” holds Israel responsible for this.”

In addition to the more than 35,000 Palestinians killed in Israel's war against Hamas, the conflict was the UN's bloodiest in its history, according to Gaza health authorities. More than 190 UN staffers have been killed, Haq said, all Palestinians except the staffer killed on Monday.

“Humanitarian workers must be protected,” said António Guterres, United Nations secretary general, he said in a social media post. “I condemn all attacks against United Nations personnel and reiterate my urgent call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the release of all hostages.”

A senior United Nations official, who was briefed on the incident by security officials in Gaza, said an initial assessment indicated the convoy was not hit in the air and was not caught in the crossfire.

The convoy was making its way this morning in United Nations-marked vehicles when it came under direct gunfire, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the United Nations has not yet released a public report on the accident.

Heavy fighting continued Monday in Gaza City, Jabaliya and Rafah, the southern city where more than a million people have fled to try to escape Israel's military offensive. Mr Haq said 360,000 people had fled Rafah since Israel issued an evacuation order a week ago.

“We remain deeply concerned about the lack of protection of civilians and the lack of security for humanitarian operations,” Haq said. “Civilians must be protected and have their basic needs met, whether they move or stay.”

Dr. James Smith, a British emergency room specialist who was traveling between medical facilities in southern Gaza on Monday, said by text message that he had visited the European Hospital in Gaza earlier in the day. Dr Smith said the emergency room was full of screaming patients and medical staff running through the corridors.

He said there was very little aid available for displaced people seeking refuge and that the scenes around the hospital were bleak.

“Khan Younis has been decimated,” Dr. Smith said.

The World Health Organization said on Monday that Israel's incursion into Rafah had jeopardized health services, with aid workers unable to deliver life-saving medical supplies.

Haq said the lack of fuel entering Gaza remains a major challenge for humanitarian aid work. Hospital generators require at least 46,000 liters of fuel a day, and the need for fuel will only increase as the fighting in Rafah expands, Haq said.

Anushka Patil contributed to the reporting.

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