At least 17 UNRWA workers have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, the head of the agency said today. Filipe Lazzarini.

“So far 17 of our colleagues have been confirmed dead in this brutal war. Unfortunately, the actual number will likely be higher,” Lazzarini said in a statement.

Some “were killed in their homes while they were sleeping with their families,” he explained.

“I underline that since the outbreak of the war on October 7, UNRWA has regularly provided all sides with the geolocation data of all its infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. “However, at least 35 buildings have been hit so far, some by direct hits,” Lazzarini complained.

“In the Gaza Strip, the incessant airstrikes and bombardments, combined with the evacuation orders issued by the Israeli forces, have led to the displacement of one million people and caused the death of too many civilians,” he noted, while calling for “immediate humanitarian truce”.

The UN official revealed that his agency’s facilities are “now overcrowded”, with 500,000 people having sought refuge there.

“I once again remind all sides of their legal and non-negotiable obligation to protect the lives of civilians, wherever they may be, at all times and to refrain from launching attacks against civilian infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, places of worship, homes of civilians, including those of UNRWA workers,” Lazzarini underlined.

More than 1,400 people have been killed on the Israeli side since the October 7 attack by Hamas, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

The Israeli military has announced that around 1,500 Hamas fighters have been killed in the counterattack it launched.

In the Gaza Strip, more than 4,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have so far lost their lives due to the continuous shelling of the Palestinian enclave by Israeli forces, according to the Hamas Health Ministry.