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Terrorism: Israel to stop UN agency’s activities in Gaza after war

Israel will seek to stop the UN agency for Palestinian refugees from operating in Gaza after the war, a minister said Saturday, after Israel accused…

Israel will seek to stop the UN agency for Palestinian refugees from operating in Gaza after the war, a minister said Saturday, after Israel accused several UNRWA staff of involvement in Hamas’s October 7 attack.

Israel was aiming to ensure “UNRWA will not be a part of the day after”, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on X, formerly Twitter, adding that he would try to gather support from the US, EU and other major donors to the agency.

Palestinian militant group Hamas on Saturday slammed Israeli “threats” against UNRWA, urging the UN and other international organisations not to “cave in to the threats and blackmail”.

UNRWA said Friday it had sacked several employees accused by Israel of involvement in Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack, prompting the United States to suspend critical funding.

The head of the agency, Philippe Lazzarini, vowed to hold “accountable, including through criminal prosecution” any UNRWA employee found to have taken part in acts of terror.

In response to the firings, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pledged to conduct an “urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA”, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The US State Department said it had “temporarily paused additional funding” to the agency while it reviewed the claims as well as the UN’s plan to address concerns.

Twelve employees “may have been involved”, it added.

Australia and Canada also said they had suspended their funding to the agency.

Israel’s relentless bombardment and siege of Gaza began soon after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attacks that resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Militants also seized about 250 hostages and Israel says around 132 of them remain in Gaza, including the bodies of at least 28 dead captives.

Israel has vowed to crush Hamas and Gaza’s health ministry says the Israeli military offensive has killed at least 26,083 people, about 70 percent of them women and children.

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