26 January 2022
UNRWA West Bank expresses its condolences on the passing of Mr. Fahmi Abdelraouf Hamad, a 57-year-old Palestine refugee from Qalandiya camp who died Monday. Mr. Hamad had been visiting the UNRWA health centre when, as preliminary UNRWA reports indicate, Israeli Security Forces entered the camp, and during clashes that lasted several hours, fired large amounts of tear gas in the vicinity of the UNRWA health centre and schools in the camp. Tear gas entered UNRWA facilities affecting children and patients, including Mr. Hamad. UNRWA education staff managed to evacuate students from the schools. However, due to the proximity to the clashes, the large amount of tear gas outside the health centre and the medical conditions of the patients inside, UNRWA health staff could not evacuate the patients. Multiple appeals by UNRWA to Israeli authorities to halt the shooting of tear gas near its installations and allow patients and staff to be evacuated were regrettably not addressed. Over an hour and a half after UNRWA first contacted the authorities requesting the evacuation and cessation of the firing of tear gas near the installations, an ambulance called by the clinic managed to evacuate Mr. Hamad, who tragically passed away later in the day. During the evacuation of Mr. Hamad, tear gas was fired around the ambulance and an UNRWA staff members also required medical attention due to tear gas inhalation.
UNRWA will further examine this grave incident and calls for Israeli Security Forces to conduct an immediate investigation into all circumstances surrounding this operation.