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Press Release

Department of Public Information l News Coverage Service l New York

25 February 1994

VIENNA, 25 February (UNRWA) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Commissioner-General, Ilter Turkmen, expressed his profound shock and concern over the massacre of Palestinians while they were praying early this morning at the al-Ibrahim Mosque in the West Bank town of Hebron. Preliminary reports indicated that more than 50 Palestinians died as a result of the attack and about 10 were killed in subsequent outbreaks of violence. More than 300 Palestinians were reported injured by noon today. The final number of deaths and injuries is not yet known.

"I am stunned and saddened at this unprecedented loss of life", the Commissoner-General said. "The magnitude of the casualties and the circumstances of the attack are truly appalling."

The UNRWA immediately mobilized its resources to assist the affected Palestinians. The Agency directed its ambulances to the Hebron area and sent blood and other medical supplies from its clinics and stores to the hospitals in Hebron and elsewhere. The UNRWA helped to redeploy medical staff to assist Hebron hospitals which were overwhelmed by the casualties.

The UNRWA was also concerned about the eruption of violence in Hebron and in other parts of the West Bank following the attack of the al-Ibrahim Mosque, which resulted in additional deaths and injuries. The Hebron area has been placed under curfew. Hebron and other areas have been declared closed military zones. UNRWA's emergency teams are operating in those areas of tension.

The Commissioner-General appealed to the Israeli authorities to exercise maximum restraint to avoid a further escalation in violence and expressed his hope that calm could prevail in the West Bank and Gaza at this critical juncture.

On behalf of the Agency and staff, Mr. Turkmen extended his heartfelt condolences to all the bereaved families.

For information media - not an official record