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Portugal calls for rigorous investigation into UN officials’ links to Hamas attacks.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today called for the adoption of “appropriate measures” and a “thorough and rigorous investigation” into the suspected involvement of elements of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in an attack on Israel.

“Recognizing the vital work of UNRWA, Portugal joins the European Union in calling for the adoption of appropriate measures and a thorough and rigorous investigation,” the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) wrote on X.

Portugal’s position follows the UN’s decision to launch an investigation to confirm the possible participation of UNRWA officials in the attack on Israel carried out by Hamas on October 7, 2023.

The MFA adds that “Portugal expresses strong concern at the allegations of the involvement of UNRWA officials in the terrorist attack” by Hamas.

Israel accused a dozen UNRWA workers of being involved in the Hamas attack and the UN organization itself announced that it would open an investigation and expel several employees.

The announcement led several countries – the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy and the United Kingdom – to suspend funding to the association.

Meanwhile, Hamas denied that UN personnel had taken part in the military actions and the Palestinian National Authority expressed “great astonishment at the measures taken by some countries before the conclusion of the UN investigations” to ascertain the veracity of the suspicions.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that UNRWA is crucial to the survival of many Gaza residents, calling for Israel’s accusations of collusion to be confirmed first.

UNRWA launched a surprise attack on southern Israel on October 7, launching thousands of rockets and incursions by armed militiamen.

In response, Israel declared war on Hamas, the movement that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 and which is classified as terrorist by the European Union and the United States, bombing several of the group’s infrastructures in the Gaza Strip and imposing a total siege on the territory, cutting off water, fuel and electricity supplies.

The October 7 attack killed more than 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

Around 240 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza, according to the Israeli authorities.

Around 100 were released at the end of November, during a truce in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, and 132 hostages are still being held in Palestinian territory, 28 of whom have reportedly died.

In response to the October 7 attack, Israel promised to annihilate Hamas, which has been in power in Gaza since 2007, and launched a vast military operation that has caused more than 26,000 deaths, the vast majority of them women, children and teenagers, according to the Palestinian Islamist movement’s Health Ministry.

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