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Memorial to murdered UN worker

PUBLISHED: 20:00 17 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:12 03 March 2010

A SIMPLE inscription on a marbled stone today stands as a memorial to brave Felixstowe United Nations worker Iain Hook.

The memorial to Mr Hook, who was shot dead while trying to save his colleagues during an Israeli attack, was unveiled at a special service in Jerusalem attended by friends, UN officials and workers.

A SIMPLE inscription on a marbled stone today stands as a memorial to brave Felixstowe United Nations worker Iain Hook.

The memorial to Mr Hook, who was shot dead while trying to save his colleagues during an Israeli attack, was unveiled at a special service in Jerusalem attended by friends, UN officials and workers.

The stone says he and fellow worker Kamal Raham Salem, killed in an another attack earlier this year, "gave their lives in the performance of their humanitarian mission".

Today the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, called for an Israeli probe into the recent pattern of serious incidents in the Middle East, which has resulted in two more deaths of UN relief workers.

"The current level of violence that causes civilian losses, including of children and elders, is profoundly disquieting," said Mr Vieira de Mello.

The worry and instability caused by the violence was making it "extremely difficult" to provide humanitarian assistance.

He called on the Israeli authorities to conduct "a full and transparent investigation into this pattern of serious incidents, mindful of human rights and humanitarian law".

Maher Nasser, chief of the New York UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) office, told the Evening Star the service had been an emotional farewell to two men killed in the line of duty.

It was attended by colleagues and officials from the UN, who stood in silent tribute as the memorial stone was unveiled.

The service was held at UNRWA's field office in Jerusalem and was organised by field office director Richard Cook and his team.

Mr Hook, 54, of Felixstowe Ferry, was shot dead by an Israeli soldier as he tried to evacuate his staff from a UN compound at Jenin as Israeli troops surrounded the nearby hideout of a wanted Islamic Jihad leader suspected of masterminding a suicide bombing which killed 14 people.

He suffered a single gunshot wound to his abdomen and died in an ambulance on his way to hospital.

At first it was believed he may have been shot after an Israeli soldier thought his mobile phone was a grenade, but now there are claims that the gunman was not inside the compound but a hidden sniper.

Mr Hook was head of an £18 million UNRWA project rebuilding the refugee camp in Jenin on the West Bank, and had been working there six weeks. He had previously worked in Kosovo, East Timor and Afghanistan.

Recent attacks on the UN in Israel include the destruction of a warehouse of 500 tons of food worth £172,000 that was to be distributed to Palestinians, and the murder of two relief workers during an attack on the Bureij refugee camp.

WEBLINK: www.un.org

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