The UN chief urged donor states to ensure aid reaches Gaza after some halted funding to the UNRWA over accusations of staff involvement in the October 7 attacks, while the UN agency fired suspected members.

While the row over accusations of some UNRWA’s staff involvement in Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel deepened, UN chief António Guterres has pleaded for donor states to “guarantee the continuity” of the body’s Palestinian refugee agency

Donors including France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Australia, and Finland on Saturday followed the lead of the United States, which said it had suspended additional funding to the agency over the Isreali accusations.

UNRWA said on Friday it had fired several employees over Israel’s unspecified accusations about the involvement of some of its staff in Hamas’s October 7 attack.

“While I understand their concerns, I was myself horrified by these accusations, I strongly appeal to the governments that have suspended their contributions to, at least, guarantee the continuity of UNRWA’s operations,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement late on Saturday.

Guterres said the “abhorrent alleged acts” of some UNRWA staff should not mean that its thousands of other humanitarian workers were penalized.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Saturday slammed the “shocking” suspension of funding by several donor countries.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called for UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini to quit after saying earlier the body “must be replaced with agencies dedicated to genuine peace and development” after Gaza’s bloodiest war.

“The dire needs of the desperate populations they serve must be met,” he said.

With AFP