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Saturday, November 06, 2010

UNRWA chief asks for machine guns to protect himself in Gaza

From Ha'aretz:

The defense establishment has taken the unusual step of granting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency approval to take four weapons into Gaza. The weapons, submachine guns, are to serve the security detail guarding the heads of the agency in Gaza.

The request to bring in the weapons was made three years ago and approved last week.

The director of UNRWA's activities in Gaza, John Ging, said on his website that his life is in constant danger and he needs more suitable protection than the handguns his bodyguards had been carrying.

The UN body asked for German Heckler and Koch submachine guns for UNRWA's commissioner general, Filippo Grandi, and for Ging.

The organization told Israeli security officials that its personnel are being threatened by Hamas representatives. UNRWA operates 221 schools in Gaza and dozens of medical centers, employment centers and women's help centers.

More than a million refugees and their descendents are registered with UNRWA, which operates eight refugee camps in Gaza.

In March 2007, gunmen fired at Ging's convoy and he escaped without injury. In the summer of 2007, armed men again attacked him, in Rafah, killing one.
Ging supports unsupervised flotillas to break the blockade of Gaza, which would be able to bring all the weapons he might need.

So why didn't he ask his Hamas buddies to smuggle in some submachine guns for his team?