News, fighting in Gaza, deaths and more

The UN agency in Gaza has warned that it may not be able to continue operations beyond this month. Here are the highlights

A man walks past the United Nations Relief and Works Agency building in Gaza City in January 2023.  (Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A man walks past the United Nations Middle East Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East building in Gaza City in January 2023. (Photo: Ali Jadalla/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images).

As the humanitarian crisis in Gaza deepens, the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) has warned that it may have to close its work across the Middle East at the end of February.

Nearly 20 countries have suspended $440 million of funding to the organization over allegations that some of its employees were involved in the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

“If funding remains suspended, we will be forced to close our operations not only in Gaza, but throughout the region, at the end of February,” the agency’s commissioner general, Philippe Lazzarini, announced on Thursday.

These are the latest headlines:

Mortgage Agreement: The Under Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs of the United States announced this Thursday that he is not aware of “any definite response” from Hamas to the proposal developed over the weekend on the release of hostages held by the group and on a continued freeze on will be considered. Fighting in Gaza.

Gaza neighborhoods in ruins: A Palestinian journalist has documented what remains of the northern Gaza Strip following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the area. In the video you can see how this area has been devastated and not a single building is left standing.

Biden says: US President Joe Biden said on Thursday he understands the “pain and passion” felt for the citizens of Gaza and Israel by “Americans and around the world” in response to “the trauma, the destruction in Israel and the loop.” Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill, Biden said he was busy “day and night” bringing home people held hostage by Hamas, and “with alleviating the humanitarian crisis and bringing peace to Gaza and Israel.” Also working for “permanent peace”. Peace with two states for two people.”

Palestinian State: The United States has reaffirmed its support for the development of an independent Palestinian state. State Department spokesman Matt Miller said there has been “no policy change” despite the Axios report suggesting otherwise.

Israeli residents: According to a US official, Biden plans to issue an executive order against violent settlers in the West Bank, who he said have undermined stability in the region. In recent months, Biden personally discussed the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Houthi drone shot down: US forces shot down a drone over the Gulf of Aden on Thursday and destroyed a Houthi maritime drone in the Red Sea, according to a US defense official and confirmation by US Central Command. Drone maritime vehicles, also known as unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), pose a threat to merchant vessels and US Navy ships operating in the area, the official said.

Iranian proxy: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday it was time to “remove even greater capabilities” from Iranian-backed groups in the wake of a deadly drone attack on a US base in Jordan that killed three of their soldiers last weekend.

Al-Amal Hospital: According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, Israeli forces abandoned al-Amal hospital in Khan Younis. He said that Israeli forces entered his nearby headquarters for the third time. Fighting in southern Gaza has intensified in recent weeks, placing enormous pressure on its scarce resources. Currently, the hospital has 100 patients, 7,000 displaced people and 100 doctors and staff.

body count: According to the Hamas-led health ministry, 27,019 people have been killed and 66,139 wounded since the Israeli military operation began on October 7, including 118 in the past 24 hours. CNN cannot confirm the figures, and the ministry does not say how many of the victims may be Hamas fighters.

Return of prisoners: According to the Gaza Crossing Authority, 114 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel have been freed and entered Gaza this Thursday morning. Spokesman Hisham Adwan said 114 detainees, including four women, were released from the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

Peace Commission: Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro proposed the creation of a peace commission to end the conflict. The proposal comes after Netanyahu wrote to him in January asking for help in using his “whatever” influence he has with Iran, Turkey and Qatar to pressure Hamas into freeing Israeli hostages. Netanyahu’s office has not commented on the letter.

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