"At least 12 employees of the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency had connections to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and around 10% of all of its Gaza staff have ties to Islamist militant groups, according to intelligence reports reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Six United Nations Relief and Works Agency workers were part of the wave of Palestinian militants who killed 1,200 people in the deadliest assault on Jews since the Holocaust, according to the intelligence dossier. Two helped kidnap Israelis. Two others were tracked to sites where scores of Israeli civilians were shot and killed. Others coordinated logistics for the assault, including procuring weapons.
Of the 12 UNRWA employees with links to the attacks, seven were primary or secondary school teachers, including two math teachers, two Arabic language teachers and one primary school teacher.
The information in the intelligence reports—based on what an official described as very sensitive signals intelligence as well as cellphone tracking data, interrogations of captured Hamas fighters and documents recovered from dead militants, among other things—were part of a briefing given by Israel to U.S. officials that led Washington and others to suspend aid to UNRWA.
Intelligence estimates shared with the U.S. conclude that around 1,200 of UNRWA’s roughly 12,000 employees in Gaza have links to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and about half have close relatives who belong to the Islamist militant groups. Both groups have been designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. and others. Hamas has run Gaza since a 2007 coup.
‘UNRWA’s problem is not just ‘a few bad apples’ involved in the October 7 massacre,’ said a senior Israeli government official. ‘The institution as a whole is a haven for Hamas’ radical ideology.’...
Two officials familiar with the intelligence said the UNRWA employees considered to have ties with militant groups were deemed to be ‘operatives,’ indicating they took active part in the organization’s military or political framework. The report said 23% of UNRWA’s male employees had ties to Hamas, a higher percentage than the average of 15% for adult males in Gaza, indicating a higher politicization of the agency than the population at large.
The Oct. 7 intelligence reports seen by the Journal identified an UNRWA Arabic teacher who the reports said was also a Hamas militant commander and took part in a terrorist attack on Kibbutz Be’eri, where 97 people were killed and about 26 people were kidnapped and taken as hostages to Gaza.
Another UNRWA employee, described in the dossier as an UNRWA social worker, played a role in absconding with the body of a dead Israeli soldier, which was taken to Gaza, the reports said. He also coordinated trucks and munitions distributions for Hamas before being killed...
The dossier is the most detailed look yet at the widespread links between the UNRWA employees and militants. It offers telling details regarding the events of Oct. 7.
A math teacher belonging to Hamas was close enough to a female hostage in Gaza that he took a picture of her. Another teacher was carrying an antitank missile the night before the invasion.
One UNRWA employee set up an operations room for Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Oct. 8, the day after the attack. Three other employees, including another Arabic teacher at an UNRWA school, received a text from Hamas to arm themselves at a staging area close to the border the night before the attack. It was unclear whether they went.
A different elementary school teacher did cross into Israel and went to Reim, a district where a kibbutz, an army base and a music festival were attacked...
Since Oct. 7, Hamas has stolen more than $1 million worth of UNRWA supplies, including fuel and trucks, according to the intelligence report. The intelligence assessment alleges that Hamas operatives are so deeply enmeshed within the UNRWA aid-delivery enterprise as to coordinate transfers for the organization."