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Strike kills U.N. aid worker, injures another in southern Gaza

A damaged United Nations vehicle is seen in front of a hospital in the Gaza Strip after a U.N. employee was killed in an attack on Monday.
Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images
A damaged United Nations vehicle is seen in front of a hospital in the Gaza Strip after a U.N. employee was killed in an attack on Monday.

TEL AVIV, Israel — The United Nations saidone of its workers was killed and another injured when their U.N.-marked vehicle was struck in Gaza's southern city of Rafah on Monday. It was on its way to assess the situation at the European Hospital there.

The Israeli military said in a statement that it had received a report from the U.N. Department of Safety and Security that two of its workers were injured. It also said that in an initial investigation, the vehicle hit was traveling in what the military declared an active combat zone. The Israeli military also said that it didn't receive notice of the vehicle's route.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "deeply saddened" by the news and called for a full investigation. He saidmore than 190 U.N. workers have been killed in Gaza since October and that all humanitarian workers must be protected.

A U.N. reportpublished on Friday said 254 aid workers had been killed in Gaza as of April 30. That includes seven aid workers from the humanitarian food organization World Central Kitchen who were killed in an Israeli airstrike at the beginning of April.

Human Rights Watch said in a reportpublished Tuesday that Israeli forces have struck aid worker convoys and properties in Gaza at least eight times since the beginning of the war. The report said this happens even while aid groups are in constant communication with Israeli officials about coordinates.

Fighting in Gaza intensified over the past week, as the Israeli military ramped up its operation in Rafah. Reutersreported on Tuesday that tanks rolled deeper into the city. The U.N. saidthat half a million Palestinians have been forcibly displaced across Gaza, with 450,000 of them being from Rafah, where almost 1.3 million Palestinians were sheltering.

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Hadeel al-Shalchi is an editor with Weekend Edition. Prior to joining NPR, Al-Shalchi was a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press and covered the Arab Spring from Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, and Libya. In 2012, she joined Reuters as the Libya correspondent where she covered the country post-war and investigated the death of Ambassador Chris Stephens. Al-Shalchi also covered the front lines of Aleppo in 2012. She is fluent in Arabic.