Former Indian Army officer working for UN killed by Israeli military in Gaza

Team India Sentinels Tuesday 14th of May 2024 03:44 PM

Col Waibhav Anil Kale (R). (Photo via Linkedin)

New Delhi: An Indian national serving as a security officer for the United Nations was killed in the Gaza Strip. Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (retired), a former Indian Army officer, was working for the United Nations department of safety and security when Israeli forces attacked his vehicle at Rafah, on Monday.

Col Kale, 46, was a counterterrorism specialist. He had taken premature retirement from the Army in July 2022. He was an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned into the 11th Battalion of Jammu & Kashmir Rifles (JAKRIF) in June 2000. Known as an outstanding officer, he held a wide range of appointments during his 22-year-long military service.

The attack on the UN vehicle occurred as Col Kale and another UN staff member were travelling to the European Hospital in Rafah. The other staffer sustained injuries. This marks the first time an international staff member of the UN has died since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict in October 2023.

The UN has confirmed the incident and the secretary general of the world body, António Guterres, has called for a full investigation. He condemned all attacks on UN personnel and reiterated his urgent appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

In a statement, the UN said: “The secretary general was deeply saddened to learn of the death of a United Nations department of safety and security (DSS) staff member and injury to another DSS staffer when their UN vehicle was struck as they travelled to the European Hospital in Rafah this morning.

The secretary general condemns all attacks on UN personnel and calls for a full investigation. He sends his condolences to the family of the fallen staff member.

With the conflict in Gaza continuing to take a heavy toll – not only on civilians, but also on humanitarian workers – the secretary general reiterates his urgent appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and for the release of all hostages.”

Colonel Kale is survived by his wife Amrita and two children, who live in Nagpur. His death has been deeply mourned by India’s permanent mission in the UN at New York.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defence Forces said that it received information about Col Kale’s death and injury to another UN staffer in Gaza’s Rafah. It said the attack occurred in an active combat zone and acknowledged that UN aid agencies inform it on the movement of their workers in a warzone.

The IDF said that it was investigating the attack.


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