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U.S. suspends UNRWA funding after allegations that 12 staff took part in Oct. 7 attack

The United States is temporarily suspending further funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East as it reviews allegations that 12 UNRWA staff were involved in the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel.

“The United States is extremely concerned about these allegations,” said Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the US State Department. Miller added that the United States was reviewing “the steps that the United Nations is taking to address them.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, on January 25 “to emphasize the need for a thorough and swift investigation into this matter,” Miller said Friday.

“We welcome the decision to conduct such an investigation and Secretary-General Guterres’ commitment to take decisive action to respond if the allegations are proven to be true,” Miller said. “We also welcome the UN’s announcement of a ‘comprehensive and independent’ review of UNRWA.

“There must be full accountability for everyone involved in the heinous attacks of October 7,” he added.

Washington also contacted the Israeli government to “seek more information about these allegations” and to inform members of Congress. “We will remain in close contact with the United Nations and the government of Israel on this matter,” Miller said.

He added that UNRWA “is playing a key role in providing relief assistance to Palestinians, including basic food, medicine, shelter, and other vital humanitarian support”.

UNRWA has long been accused of anti-Semitism, including that its teachers glorified the October 7 Hamas attack, that aid passes through Hamas hands, and that Hamas terrorists hide in its schools.

“Israeli authorities have provided UNRWA with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA staff in the horrific attacks on Israel on 7 October,” said Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General.

“To protect the agency’s ability to provide humanitarian assistance, I have decided to immediately terminate the contracts of these employees and launch an investigation to determine the truth without delay,” Lazzarini said. “Any UNRWA staff member who has been involved in acts of terrorism will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.”

“UNRWA condemns in the strongest possible terms the heinous attacks of October 7 and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all Israeli hostages and their safe return to their families,” he added. “These shocking allegations come as more than two million people in Gaza depend on the agency’s relief aid since the war began. Anyone who betrays the core values ​​of the United Nations also betrays those we serve in Gaza, throughout the region, and elsewhere around the world.

Image Source: MSN

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