Thursday, August 17, 2006

Murder from beginning to end

UN agency blasts Israel's 'absurd' killing of employee

BEIRUT (AFP) - The United Nations agency that looks after Palestinian refugees on Tuesday condemned Israel's "absurd and tragic" killing of one of its employees in southern Lebanon minutes before a ceasefire came into effect on Monday.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said an Israeli air strike on the Ein el-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp 80 minutes before Monday's 0500 GMT ceasefire killed employee Abdel Saghir, 48, married with three children.

"UNRWA strongly condemns the death of Mr Saghir ... the fact that he was killed when hostilities were going to end makes his death particularly absurd and tragic," it said in a statement.

It said one of the missiles fired targeted a Palestinian faction in the camp, Lebanon's largest and home to 47,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes when Israel was created in 1948 and their descendants. "There can be no justification for firing two missiles into a densely populated refugee camp whose inhabitants had not taken part in the conflict," said UNRWA's chief in Lebanon Richard Cook.

The Ein el-Helweh camp was hit three times in Israel's month-long assault on Lebanese Shiite movement Hizbollah in which more than 1,150 people were killed in Lebanon. Two people were killed when Israel shelled the camp on August 9.

Israeli air raids in a previous attack on Lebanon in 1987 killed 46 people in the same camp.


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