UN secretary-general appoints Indian to board to investigate Gaza incidents

United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a former Indian Police Service Officer, K C Reddy, to a board of inquiry that will investigate incidents involving UN facilities in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, his deputy spokesperson, Farhan Haq said Monday.

The five-member board is to look into contentious incidents during the confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian organisation, Hamas, in July and August. Haq said it will "investigate a number of specific incidents in which death or injuries occurred at, and/or damage was done to United Nations premises" and "incidents in which weapons were found to be present on United Nations premises."

In one incident in July, 15 Palestinians were killed and 200 injured by an Israeli rocket strike on a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Nine staff members of UNRWA have also been killed in various incidents during the period.

However, the agency has acknowledged that rockets were found hidden in three of its schools in the Gaza strip while they were not in session and not sheltering people displaced by the fighting. In one case, UNRWA said that "as soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises."

The board will be headed by Patrick Cammaert, a retired Dutch major general who was a military adviser to the secretary-general. Besides Reddy, the other members are Maria Vicien-Milburn of Argentina, Lee O'Brien of the US and Pierre Lemelin of Canada.

Reddy was formerly the chief security adviser to the secretary-general for the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS). He belonged to the Meghalaya cadre of the IPS and was awarded the Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Service.

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