Former Indian Army Officer working with UN killed in Gaza

UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the attack and has called for a comprehensive investigation.

| Updated: 14 May, 2024 5:54 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a somber first for the United Nations amidst the Israel-Hamas conflict, a vehicle assault in Rafah, Gaza Strip, resulted in the death of a former Indian Army officer serving with the UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS).

The UN confirmed that the DSS staff member succumbed to injuries sustained when their vehicle was hit en route to the European Hospital in Rafah on Monday. Another staff member was injured in the incident. UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the attack and has called for a comprehensive investigation.

While the identity of the deceased has not been disclosed, it is understood that he was a former infantry officer of the Indian Army, an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, commissioned in 2000, and had taken early retirement before joining the DSS.

READ MORE : Israeli Army assumes operational control of Rafah Crossing in Gaza

Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General stated that the UN is actively gathering details about the attack. He acknowledged the death of the security personnel as the first international casualty among UN staff in the Gaza conflict.

Guterres, in a statement, expressed his condolences and emphasized the need for the protection of humanitarian workers, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the release of all hostages.

With the conflict in Gaza continuing to take a heavy toll – not only on civilians but also on humanitarian workers – the Secretary-General reiterates his urgent appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and for the release of all hostages,” the statement added.

In a post on X, Guterres said the UN vehicle was struck in Gaza, “killing one of our colleagues & injuring another.” He said that more than 190 UN staff have been killed in Gaza.

The UN vehicle was reportedly conducting a routine security assessment when it was struck. Additionally, the UNRWA reported the loss of another staff member, a senior projects officer, in an Israeli strike in Deir Al Balah, bringing the total UN staff fatalities in the conflict to 188.

Indian authorities have yet to comment on the incident. India has advocated for an immediate cessation of hostilities, the release of hostages held by Hamas since the terror attacks on October 7 of the previous year, the resumption of humanitarian aid, and a return to dialogue for a two-state solution.

Earlier in April, an Israeli air strike in Gaza claimed the lives of seven World Central Kitchen volunteers, including Zomi Frankcom of Indian descent.

The UN OCHA reported that from October 7, 2023, to May 12, 2024, the conflict has resulted in at least 35,091 Palestinian casualties and 78,827 injuries. The October 7 Hamas terror attacks also claimed the lives of approximately 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals.

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