Twelve workers with the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency have been killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza.
On October 7, Hamas led the deadliest Palestinian militant attack in Israel’s history. Israel subsequently launched its heaviest-ever airstrikes on Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country is “at war” and has cut off supplies of food, fuel, electricity and medicine into Gaza.
Israel has called up 360,000 army reservists as it prepares for a likely ground offensive into Gaza, a small enclave of 2.3 million residents.
As of Thursday, more than 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, the Associated Press reported, citing the Israeli military. At least 1,354 people have been killed in Gaza, according to authorities there, the AP said.
“We are devastated to confirm that 12 @UNRWA colleagues have been killed since 7 October in the Gaza Strip,” the agency wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “We mourn this loss and are grieving with our colleagues and the families. @UN staff and civilians must be protected at all times.”
All 12 of the workers were Palestinian, a spokesperson for UNRWA told Newsweek via email on Thursday.
They included five teachers at UNRWA schools, a gynecologist, an engineer, a psychological counselor and three support staff, Jenifer Austin, deputy director of UNRWA Affairs Gaza, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Some were killed in their homes with their families,” Austin said. “UNRWA mourns this loss and is grieving with our colleagues and the families. UN staff and civilians must be protected at all times during conflict. We call for the fighting to come to an end to spare more civilian lives lost.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said five members of its network—four in Gaza and one in Israel—had been killed.
In two separate incidents on Wednesday, “ambulances were hit killing four Palestine Red Crescent paramedics who were helping those in need,” the IFRC said in a statement.
On Saturday, an ambulance driver for Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency service, died while driving an ambulance, IFRC added.
“The IFRC reiterates the call on all parties to respect their legal obligations under international humanitarian law,” the statement said. “This is non-negotiable. Civilians, healthcare workers, health facilities and civilian infrastructure must be respected and protected at all times. They are not a target.”
Update 10/12/23, 9:15 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.