A United Nations agency backed by the European Union employs "more than 450 terrorists", Israel has claimed. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)


EU-funded UN agency employs ‘more than 450 terrorists’, Israel says


A United Nations agency funded by the European Union employs “more than 450 terrorists”, Israel says.

Hundreds of people involved in the October 7 attack on Israeli civilians were employed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), claims Israel Defence Force spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.

UNRWA has received much of its funding from the EU and its member states.

Hagari shared recordings he said were of an UNRWA employee involved in the attack, bragging about murdering Jewish settlers.

In the recording, the man is heard bragging about kidnapping a young Jewish woman, whom he describes as a “noble steed”, as well as a “sabaya”: a term ISIS members have used to refer to female sex slaves.

Speaking to media, Hagari said the UN agency was actively complicit in the murder of Jewish civilians.

“Over 450 UNRWA employees are military operatives in terror groups in Gaza. Over 450. This is no mere coincidence,” he said.

“This is systematic. There is no claiming ‘We did not know’,” he added.

Israel’s claim hundreds of terrorists were UNRWA employees comes after the European Commission announced the EU would resume funding for the agency.

Having initially promised to investigate whether or not to continue funding UNRWA after some of its employee were involved in the October 7 massacre, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen  announced last week that the EU would hand over €50 million to the group in the coming days.

“We stand by the Palestinian people in Gaza and elsewhere in the region,” von der Leyen said regarding the decision.

“Innocent Palestinians should not have to pay the price for the crimes of terrorist group Hamas,” she added, saying their current suffering justifies the handing over additional funds.

Israel responded with anger at the decision, with the country’s foreign ministry expressing fear the move will further legitimise terror groups active in the region.

“The disappointing decision gives legitimacy to UNRWA employees’ involvement in terror activities and cooperation with Hamas,” Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday, March 5.

Other European countries have also continued to support the UNRWA despite its links to the attacks, with Ireland in particular announcing it would increase its funding of the group by €20 million.

This represents a substantial increase compared to the €8.5 million in aid Ireland provided to the UNRWA in 2022.

“I urge other donors to resume and expand support to UNRWA so that it can deliver for the millions of Palestinian refugees in need,” said Ireland’s Tánaiste (deputy PM) Micheál Martin.

The funding spike comes amid deteriorating relations between Ireland and Israel, with Ireland’s government frequently targeting Israel’s government over its actions in Gaza.

Some Israeli politicians and commentators have responded by suggesting Ireland should take in the population of Palestine.

“I say we move the resident Arab population out [of Gaza],” Jonathan Pollard, an ally of the country’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, told the Jerusalem Post.

“I don’t care where they go. My preference is for Ireland. I think the Irish deserve it,” he added, noting one hard-left Irish politician “has even donned a keffiyeh”, a traditional piece of Palestinian clothing.