United Nations worker, Iain Hook, killed in the Jenin refugee camp during an Israeli-Palestinian clash, phoned an IDF army officer minutes before his death and said Palestinians were breaking into the UN compound, according to a tape released by the Israel Defense Forces yesterday.
Hook, British senior manager for UNRWA, was killed by IDF gunfire on Friday.
The IDF admitted the shooting was a mistake, but said soldiers returning fire coming from the UN compound targeted Hook, mistakenly believing the cellphone he was holding was a weapon. Palestinians deny they fired at the Israeli soldiers from the camp. UN officials also deny the charge.
But in a voice mail received by Cpt. Peter Lerner, the IDF's liaison with international groups, a person identifying himself as Iain said Palestinian youths "have knocked a hole in the wall ... I'm trying to keep them out." Lerner would not say why it took the military five days to produce the tape.
"This does not prove we are innocent," Lerner admitted, but said it lent credence to the Israeli claim that Palestinian gunmen had entered the compound. The term the caller used to describe the youth was shabab, an Arabic term for youth that often refers to armed gangs.
Lerner's voice mail service automatically dated the call at 12:53 P.M. on Friday, less than an hour before Hook was shot and killed. The caller said, "Hi Peter, it's Iain here. I'm just making a progress report, really. We're pinned down in the compound. The shabab have knocked a hole in the wall, which I'm not happy about at all. I'm trying to keep them out and I will just keep my people pinned down in the corner until I hear from you. OK? Over."
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