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Saturday, January 10, 2009
IDF: Army didn't fire on UN truck driver

IDF: Army didn't fire on UN truck driver
By AMIR MIZROCH The Jerusalem Post Jan 10, 2009 18:24 | Updated Jan 10, 2009
18:25
www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231424908570&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The IDF was not responsible for the death of a Palestinian aid worker
contracted to the UN and the wounding of two others last Thursday, the IDF
Spokesperson said Saturday.

"An IDF investigation has found that it was not the army who fired on a UN
truck at the Erez Crossing," the Spokesperson's office said. The IDF is not
sure who fired on the truck, and is still investigating. "The army further
wishes to point out that the Palestinian wounded were evacuated by the Red
Cross to the Israeli border, where they were taken by Israeli medical
personnel for treatment at Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital," the IDF told The
Jerusalem Post.

On Thursday, the Post reported that contrary to foreign press reports, it
was not certain that an IDF tank shell hit the aid truck, and that in all
probability, the aid workers were hit by Hamas gunfire.

The foreign press reports were based on UN sources, who later admitted to
the Post that they were not sure in which direction the truck was headed
when it was hit, and could also not say with certainty that tank shells were
responsible. Foreign press reports said the dead Palestinian and two others
were hit by tank shells.

Uncertainty shrouds UN driver's death

An MDA medic at the scene told the Post that soldiers in the field said
Hamas snipers targeted the aid workers. A Post probe revealed that the two
wounded Palestinians were being treated at Barzilai for gunshot wounds.

The incident occurred Thursday afternoon at the Erez crossing into northern
Gaza, the main entrance used by aid agencies to funnel badly needed food and
medical supplies into the Strip. The version of events which posited that
the IDF had attacked an aid convoy was widely disseminated in the global
media, and it was only on Friday afternoon that the IDF posited a different
theory.

UN officials in New York placed the blame squarely on Israel, not just for
the Erez incident, but also for a separate episode in which a marked UN
ambulance convoy sent to retrieve the body of an UNRWA worker killed by an
air strike came under small arms fire near Beit Hanun on Thursday afternoon.
No one was injured in that incident.

Both incidents led UNRWA to suspend its activities regarding the collection
and redistribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza.

In a statement issued Friday, the UN said it would resume its Gaza
operations. "In a high level meeting at Israeli Ministry of Defense
Headquarters in Tel Aviv, the UN was informed that the incidents which led
to a temporary suspension of UN staff movements are deeply regretted and do
not reflect official government policy. The UN received credible assurances
that the security of UN personnel, installations and humanitarian operations
would be fully respected, including undertakings of improved liaison and
more effective internal coordination within the IDF.

"On this basis, UN staff movements suspended yesterday will resume as soon
as possible. The UN will keep the safety and security of its staff under
constant review," the UN statement said.

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