Israeli Airstrike kills 76 members of one Family of UN Agency Employee

Israeli Airstrike kills 76 members of one Family of UN Agency Employee

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More than 90 Palestinians, including 76 members of one extended family, have reportedly been killed in Israeli airstrikes that leveled two homes in Gaza, marking one of the deadliest bombardments in West Jerusalem’s campaign against Hamas.

Friday’s strike in Gaza City killed 16 heads of household from the al-Mughrabi family, local health and rescue officials said on Saturday. Among those who perished was a 56-year-old staff member with the UN Development Program (UNDP), Issam al-Mughrabi, as well as his wife and five children. He had worked for the agency for nearly three decades.

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“The loss of Issam and his family has deeply affected us all,” UNDP administrator Achim Steiner said in a statement.

“The UN and civilians in Gaza are not a target. This war must end. No more families should endure the pain and suffering that Issam’s family and countless others are experiencing.”

More than 20,000 people have been killed and 53,000 wounded in the besieged Palestinian enclave since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, according to Gaza health authorities.

Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas after the militant group triggered the conflict with cross-border attacks that killed more than 1,100 people, including nearly 700 Israeli civilians and 71 foreigners. Hamas fighters also took hundreds of hostages from southern Israeli villages back to Gaza.

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The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Friday calling for aid deliveries to Gazan civilians to be sped up. The resolution was watered downafter the US blocked an effort to demand an “urgent suspension of hostilities”in the conflict.

The UN warned in a report this week that more than 500,000 people in Gaza are starving amid Israel’s bombardment. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that Israel’s military offensive was creating “massive obstacles” to the distribution of humanitarian aid.

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About 85% of Gaza’s population has been displaced. Guterres said 136 UN agency staffers had been killed, “something we have never seen in UN history.” He has repeatedly called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, but Israeli officials have claimed that a cessation of hostilities would only help Hamas, which has ruled the enclave for the past 16 years.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Hamas for the high civilian casualties in Gaza, claiming the group’s fighters are operating from within and under civilian areas, schools and hospitals.

read more: Israel should turn Gaza into an ‘Auschwitz’ – town leader

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UNDP Statement on the killing of UNDP staff member and family in Gaza

I am deeply saddened to announce the death of our UNDP colleague and his family in Gaza today. Issam Al Mughrabi (56), his wife Lamya’a (53), and his children Mohammad (32), Suad (30), Lama (27), Luai (23), Obaideh (13), were killed by an Israeli air strike near Gaza City today. The airstrike also reportedly killed more than 70 members of his extended family.

For almost 30 years, Issam has worked with UNDP through our Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People. He will be remembered as a beloved member of the PAPP team. 

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The loss of Issam and his family has deeply affected us all. The UN and civilians in Gaza are not a target.

This war must end. No more families should endure the pain and suffering that Issam’s family and countless others are experiencing.  On behalf of UNDP, I send my condolences to Issam’s loved ones, our PAPP colleagues, and everyone who knew Issam and his family.

Achim Steiner – UNDP Administrator

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