UN chief to meet UNRWA donor nations as US vows to respond ‘decisively’ to Jordan drone strike

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Guterres to meet UNRWA donor nations

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is set to meet major donors to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as several suspend financial aid suspensions over allegations that a handful of staff were involved in the 7 October Hamas attack in Israel.

“We must support the vital humanitarian work that the UN is doing, not only in Gaza, but throughout the region,” Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric told a news conference. People’s lives depend on it.”

The meeting is scheduled to take place in New York today.

In recent days, UNRWA has lost half of its budget as more than 15 countries, including the US, UK, Germany, Canada and Austria, have suspended funding.

Nearly 20 NGOs have joined forces to call on governments to maintain funding for the agency’s “vital” work on the ground, while warning that the paralysis of its work is endangering the lives of many civilians throughout the region.

Dujarric pointed out that UNRWA has announced it is investigating allegations against 12 of its staff – one of them dead and two missing – out of a total of 30,000.

“No other organisation apart from UNRWA has the infrastructure to do the work they do. It’s not like someone else can come in tomorrow and do it,” Dujarric said, noting that redirecting aid to other agencies would not solve the problem.

Palestinians try to extinguish a fire at a building of an UNRWA vocational training center which displaced people use as a shelter, after being targeted by Israeli tank

US Secretary of State says US will respond ‘decisively’ to drone strike in Jordan

The US Department of Defence on Monday released the names of the three military personnel killed in a suicide drone attack in Jordan and raised the number of wounded to 40.

The military personnel killed were Sergeant William Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Sanders, 24 and Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would respond “decisively” to aggression and hold those responsible for the drone strike accountable. He said the Pentagon did not believe Iran was seeking war with the US.

Asked if the failure to shoot down the enemy drone was due to ‘human error’, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh replied that US Central Command was still assessing the matter.

US commanders have admitted that staff at the base initially mistook an American drone returning to base for a pro-Iranian one. This confused those in charge of air defence systems, allowing the offensive drone to get through.

In this image provided by The White House, President Joe Biden receives the Presidential Daily Briefing

Thousands of Palestinians flee West Gaza

Thousands more people have been forced to flee their homes in West Gaza on Monday after receiving a warning from the Israeli army.

Carrying blankets and bedding, Palestinians made their way through the rubble and destruction of Gaza City’s streets to find shelter, many on foot – this less than a week after an unarmed man waving a white flag was shot on camera in the street.

Israel’s military said it would review the shooting of a Ramzi Abu Sahloul, a 51-year-old Palestinian shopkeeper, saying footage of the episode raised concerns about possible misconduct by soldiers.

The video of the shooting shows a group of five men walking slowly down a street in an area west of the southern city of Khan Younis.

The shooter cannot be seen on the video. But before the shots are fired, the camera pans to show what appears to be an Israeli tank positioned nearby. Ahmed Hijazi, a citizen journalist who filmed the episode, told the Associated Press that an Israeli tank was firing at the group.

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