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UNRWA withdraws part of its international staff from Gaza

Oct. 2, 2018 3:21 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 4, 2018 11:23 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) decided, on Tuesday, to temporarily withdraw part of its international staff from Gaza following a series of worrying security incidents affecting its personnel in the besieged Gaza Strip.

UNRWA's spokesperson, Sami Mshasha, said in a statement that "The Director of Operations and other international staff will remain and UNRWA operations will continue in Gaza."

UNRWA's statement came after a number of UNRWA staff members were harassed and prevented from carrying out their duties, on Monday, by protesters protesting against recent measures resulting from the agency's financial crisis.

Despite UNRWA's serious efforts to engage the local authorities as an attempt to ensure security is afforded to its staff, several weeks of protests and repeated incidents affecting international and national staff still took place and endangered the staff safety.

Mshasha called upon the local authorities in Gaza to respond to its repeated demands to provide effective protection to its employees and facilities.

Mshasha added that "the lack of effective security and safety risk impacting vital humanitarian services to more than 1.3 million refugees in Gaza."

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