UN vows internal probe over Hamas aid allegation

Second time Israel has charged an aid worker with assisting the group

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The United Nations said on Tuesday it was “greatly concerned” at Israeli claims one of its staff helped Hamas fighters in Gaza and vowed an internal investigation.

“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is greatly concerned by the allegation from the Israeli authorities,” it said, promising “a thorough internal review of the processes and circumstances surrounding the allegation.”

Israel on Tuesday charged engineer Waheed Borsh with diverting aid to Hamas, particularly by using rubble from UNDP projects to build a jetty used by Hamas for its naval force.

He is also alleged to have last year persuaded UNDP managers to focus home rebuilding efforts in areas where Hamas members lived, after pressure from the group.

Robust measures

The UNDP said despite the allegations, it was confident it had “robust measures in place to ensure that the rubble, which is removed and crushed, goes to its intended purpose,” the statement said.

“The allegations concerning Mr Borsh by the Israeli authorities refer to 300 tonnes of the more than one million tonnes removed, or seven truckloads out of a total of nearly 26,000,” it added.

It was the second time an aid worker had been charged with working with Hamas in a week, after the Gaza head of the US-based charity World Vision was accused on Thursday of passing millions of dollars in international aid to the group.