Shot UN worker mourned in Ferry

GRIEVING family of a Felixstowe United Nations worker shot dead during fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen were today flying out to visit the spot where he died.

By Richard Cornwell

GRIEVING family of a Felixstowe United Nations worker shot dead during fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen were today flying out to visit the spot where he died.

It is understood some of Iain Hook's children wanted to see where their father had been working when he was killed.

They have flown to Tel Aviv to be taken to Jenin, and also to help with the arrangements to bring his body back to Britain for a funeral.

Prayers were said at churches throughout Felixstowe over the weekend for the family of Mr Hook, 54, head of a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) project to rebuild the refugee camp in Jenin on the West Bank.

It has emerged that he may have been shot after an Israeli soldier thought his mobile phone was a grenade.

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Today the close-knit and tiny community of Felixstowe Ferry is still reeling from the news of Mr Hook's death.

He and his wife Cathy had lived at the hamlet at the mouth of the River Deben for a few years, and previously had lived at George Street, Hadleigh. They are understood to have four grown-up children.

Speaking for the hamlet, Graham Martin, of the Felixstowe Ferry Residents' Association, said it was a terrible tragedy and had left everyone very shocked.

"They did keep themselves to themselves. I didn't know Mr Hook personally and he was away a lot, but they were very nice and friendly people if you saw them," he said.

Kathleen Baraglia , a worker at the Ferry café, said: "We are very sad about it. We feel very touched by it because everybody down here knows everybody else.

"His wife always came in for the newspapers, a very nice lady. We never saw him very much. He was always away."

It is understood Mrs Hook learned of her husband's death while watching a news report on satellite TV. His name had been inadvertently released to the media before police had a chance to break the tragic news.

Mr Hook and fellow UN workers became trapped after Israeli troops surrounded the nearby hideout of a wanted Islamic Jihad leader suspected of masterminding a suicide bombing which killed 14 people last month.

Palestinian gunmen fired at the troops and the UN office was caught in the middle of the resulting gun battle.

Witnesses at the scene said Mr Hook was trying to negotiate the release of his team from the refugee camp when he was shot and reported that his body lay in the road for 20 minutes. He died in an ambulance on his way to hospital.

He was co-ordinator of an £18 million camp rehabilitation project for UNRWA, including revuilding the Jenin camp, home to 13,000 Palestinian refugees.

Mr Hook, who had previously worked in Kosovo, East Timor and Afghanistan, had been working in Jenin for six weeks. He was on an 18-month contract for British firm Crown Agents, under contract to the Department for International Development, but was working on the project for the UNRWA.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and International Development Secretary Clare Short have promised a full investigation into Mr Hook's death.

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