Kill UN Worker, Mistaking Him for Terrorist
By Margot Dudkevitch
The Jerusalem Post Nov. 24, 2002
investigations by the IDF revealed that a British UN aid worker
killed Friday during clashes between soldiers and Palestinian gunmen
in the Jenin refugee camp was shot by a soldier who mistook a mobile
phone in his hand for a grenade.
investigations showed that soldiers spotted Iain Hook inside the
UNRWA compound holding an object that resembled a gun.
Hook, 52, is
the first UN foreign national to die since the outbreak of violence
over two years ago. He was managing a $27 million project to rebuild
the Jenin refugee camp, damaged during the IDF offensive in the
area in April.
on Saturday night show that terrorists shot from inside the UNRWA
compound and from alleyways next to the compound using civilians
as human shields. In one case a terrorist shot from behind a woman
holding an UNRWA flag. Throughout, the soldiers strictly adhered
to the open fire regulations and refrained from responding in a
manner that would endanger innocent civilians, the army said.
The army is
continuing an in-depth investigation into the affair.
Secretary Jack Straw called Hook’s death "a terrible tragedy"
and said Britain has demanded a full investigation into the incident.
Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called him to express his sorrow,
In the same
incident Muhammad Bilalo, a 13-year-old Palestinian, was killed
and Coimeh Butterly, a female Irish voluntary aid worker, was shot
in the leg.
come under massive gunfire as they surrounded a house in the camp
to capture Islamic Jihad fugitive Abdullah Naji Wahash. A member
of the Islamic Jihad military wing, he is responsible for numerous
bomb attacks inside Israel, including the dispatching of the suicide
bombers who blew themselves up next to a bus at the Karkur junction
in October killing 14 Israelis and wounding eight. In recent days
he was planning a car bomb attack in Israel.
returned fire, and Hook was hit in the stomach by two bullets as
he was trying to coordinate the evacuation of staff from the compound.
Hook died en
route to the Jenin Hospital, where hospital director Muhammad Abu
Ghali said the two bullets extricated from his abdomen were the
kind used by the army. A local UN spokesman, Sami Mshasha, said
Hook’s body would be taken to Jerusalem for autopsy.
A UN statement
claimed the army delayed access to an ambulance to take him to hospital.
IDF officials denied this, saying he was evacuated as soon as possible.
attack shows just how extreme the current Israeli government is,"
said Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, the president of the Union of Palestinian
Medical Relief Committees. "They are willing to kill not only
Palestinians but also members of the international community who
are here trying to help the Palestinian people," he said.
Peter Hansen, voiced "shock and outrage" at Hook’s death
and said he hoped Hook’s family would "take some small comfort
and pride in the knowledge that he lost his life trying to save
that of others."
issued by the IDF Spokesman said: "The IDF’s operations are
directed against terrorists and their dispatchers only. However,
the fact that the terrorists operate from inside densely populated
civilian areas and create battle situations in built-up areas endangers
the lives of the local population."
Shaul Mofaz expressed sorrow over the incident and stressed he was
waiting for the results of the pending IDF investigation in order
to determine who was responsible for the death.
contributed to this story.