The UN agency working with Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has announced that it has suspended a senior employee in Gaza due to allegations that he has joined Hamas, Safa news agency reported on Monday. According to UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, Suhail Al-Hindi has been suspended "pending the outcome of an investigation" into the allegation.
Safa said that the UN agency had "responded to Israeli correspondence" related to Al-Hindi, who is the chairman of the Association of Palestinian Workers of UNRWA in Gaza. Recent media reports claimed that he has been elected as a member of the Hamas political bureau in the coastal enclave.
"Before that communication [with Israel]," explained Gunness, "and in light of our ongoing independent internal investigation, we have been presented with substantial information from a number of sources which led us to take the decision this afternoon to suspend Suhail Al-Hindi." The agency will take its final decision when the investigation is concluded, he added.
Al-Hindi denied the allegations and called them "propaganda". Expressing his "surprise" at the UNRWA decision to suspend him, he also threatened to take legal action against the media involved.