UK, US, Canada among nations to suspend support for UNRWA amid allegations

UN had rejected the allegations against the agency

Israel Gaza war UNRWA Palestinians arrive in the southern Gaza town of Rafah after fleeing an Israeli ground and air offensive in the nearby city of Khan Younis | AP

Along with the United States, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Italy has suspended financing of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) on Saturday.

Taking to X, Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said, "The Italian government has suspended financing of the UNRWA after the atrocious attack on Israel on 7 October.”

The move follows after it was alleged that UNRWA's staff were involved in the October 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel.

Expressing shock over the allegations, Penny Wong, Australia’s foreign minister, said that she was “deeply concerned” by the allegations against UNRWA. “We are speaking with partners and will temporarily pause disbursement of recent funding,” she wrote on social media platform X.

Amid the suspensions, Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) said that the decision entails great political and humanitarian relief risks.

"We call on the countries that announced the cessation of their support for #UNRWA to immediately reverse their decision, which entails great political and humanitarian relief risks, as at this particular time and in light of the continuing aggression against the Palestinian people, we need the maximum support for this international organization and not stopping support and assistance to it," Hussein wrote on X.

Israel foreign minister said that his nation would seek to stop UNRWA from operating in Gaza after the war.

The UN agency had rejected the allegations. “We stress the importance of the role of these agencies in providing relief to our people and documenting the crimes of the occupation,” it said.

UNRWA said on Friday it had severed ties with the staff members accused by Israel of involvement in the 7 October Hamas attack.

Meanwhile, Israel continued its attacks in south Gaza. Heavy aerial and tank fire across Khan Younis dominated the region on Saturday. The Israeli military said it killed at least 11 gunmen who were trying to plant explosives near troops and other firing rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at soldiers in Khan Younis.

Even hospitals in Khan Younis are being attacked by the troops. At least three people were killed in Israeli strikes near Rafah border region, where people are taking shelters in tents.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, at least 26,257 Palestinians were killed so far in the Israel-Hamas war.

Hamas said in a statement that Israel is on a "campaign of incitement" against UN agencies delivering aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

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