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Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 23:51 GMT
Israel admits killing British UN worker
The army said there were gunmen in the compound
The Israeli army (IDF) has acknowledged that its troops shot dead a British UN worker during an Israeli raid on a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday.


The IDF expresses regret over the death of the UNRWA worker

Israeli army

A United Nations official is due to arrive in Jenin on Sunday to carry out the world body's own investigation into the death of 53-year-old Iain Hook.

An army statement said preliminary investigations indicated that two soldiers identified a man in a UN compound in Jenin "holding an object that looked like a pistol" and opened fire at him.

Mr Hook, an employee of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), died before reaching hospital, in an incident that drew criticism from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

In a statement, the IDF expressed its "regret" over Mr Hook's death, but denied UN claims that the army prevented an ambulance from quickly reaching the wounded man.

Gunfire claim

The IDF said shooting was coming from inside the compound when the soldiers opened fire.

It said Palestinian gunmen used civilians as human shields, including a woman holding an UNRWA flag.

Iain Hook's identity card
Hook was helping rebuild Palestinian homes

UN spokesman Paul McCann disputed Israel's claim.

"From our inquiry so far... this report of firing from the compound is totally incredible," he said.

Mr Hook, he added, had been on his cell phone moments before he was shot, trying to arrange the evacuation of UN personnel.

On Friday, the UN secretary general said he was "deeply disturbed" by Mr Hook's death.

The aid worker was involved in a project to rebuild homes which were destroyed during previous Israeli operations.

Israel said it raided Jenin because it had information that a wanted Palestinian militant inside the camp was planning a suicide bombing in Israel.

Mr Hook's body is due to be transported to Jerusalem for an autopsy, before being transferred to Britain.



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