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US pauses funding for UNRWA amid alleged involvement of staff members in attack on Israel

US pauses funding for UNRWA amid alleged involvement of staff members in attack on Israel

The United States has temporarily paused additional funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) pending the review of allegations that 12 staff members were involved in the October 7 attack, according to a press statement released by the U.S. Department of State.

In a press statement prepared by Matthew Miller, the department spokesperson, it was revealed that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken recently had a conversation with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to underscore the importance of the conduct of a thorough and swift investigation into the matter.

The press statement notes that the United States welcomes the commitment of Guterres to conduct such an investigation and take appropriate action if the allegations prove to be true. Additionally, the UN's announcement of a "comprehensive and independent" review of UNRWA is also welcomed.

While recognizing the critical role that UNRWA plays in providing essential humanitarian support to Palestinians, including food, medicine, shelter, and other vital assistance, the United States emphasizes the need to address the allegations and implement appropriate corrective measures. This includes a review of existing policies and procedures, as stated by the U.S. Department of State.

The State Department also revealed that the United States has reached out to the Government of Israel to gather more information about these allegations.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State has briefed members of Congress on the unfolding situation.

"We will remain in close contact with the United Nations and Government of Israel regarding this matter," the department said.

Meanwhile, the UNRWA said on Friday it had opened an investigation into several employees suspected of involvement in the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel by Hamas and that it had severed ties with those staff members.

"The Israeli authorities have provided UNRWA with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on October 7," said Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General. — BAP, GMA Integrated News