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August 09, 2016

Israel Links Save the Children and U.N. Aid Workers to Hamas

A Palestinian employee of the United Nations Development Program was indicted in Israel Tuesday on charges of assisting the military wing of Hamas, the Associated Press reports. A Save the Children aid worker has also come under suspicion as part of Israeli authorities’ investigation of alleged ties between humanitarian agencies and the militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, according to Agence France-Presse.

Israeli security agency Shin Bet accused Waheed Borsh, a U.N.-employed engineer, of using the development agency’s resources for construction projects benefiting Hamas members and naval forces. Save the Children said Monday that one of its Palestinian employees in Gaza had been named in the charge sheet for Mohammad El Halabi, the Gaza director for Christian aid charity World Vision who was indicted last month on charges of diverting millions of dollars in aid to Hamas.

According to the documents, Mr. Halabi recruited the Save the Children worker to join a Hamas military brigade. Save the Children said it had not been contacted by Israeli authorities about the allegation and that it is "making inquiries into this matter." World Vision has disputed Israel’s accusations against Mr. Halabi.

Israel, which has fought three wars against Hamas in the past decade, has accused global aid organizations of pro-Palestinian bias. Israeli authorities have trumpeted the allegations involving U.S.-based World Vision, which pro-Israel groups have long claimed harbors Hamas sympathies, reports Al Jazeera.