Israel has demanded that the leaders of the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) be sacked amid allegations that some of its members took part in the October 7 attacks.
Britain, the United States and several other countries have suspended their funding to the UNRWA while the allegations are investigated.
Israel Katz, Israel’s foreign minister, urged more countries to join the boycott of the UNRWA and said its leadership should be “dismissed”.
“I call for more nations to join in,” he said. “UNRWA’s ties with Hamas, providing refuge for terrorists, and perpetuating its rule are undeniable.
“The leadership of UNRWA should be dismissed and thoroughly investigated for their knowledge of these activities.”
The UNRWA is led by Philippe Lazzarini who was appointed by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres in March 2020.
05:02 PM GMT
That's all for today
Thank you for following The Telegraph’s live coverage of the war in Gaza.
05:01 PM GMT
The United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, Britain and Finland suspended funding to the United Nations’ aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) after it sacked 12 employees accused of participating in October 7
Israel said it would ban the agency from operating in Gaza after the war, demanded its leadership be sacked and called on other countries to also suspend their funding
Hamas condemned the moves and said the accusations were “blackmail”
Amnesty International accused the British government of “prioritising its diplomatic and business relationships with Israel” and the US by joining the suspensions
The fire on the Marlin Luanda fuel tanker which was struck by a Houthi missile on Friday night was extinguished at midday
British defence secretary Grant Shapps said the attack was “intolerable and illegal”
A “large number” of Hamas terrorists were killed in operations in the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis, the Israel Defense Forces said
The IDF also killed four Hezbollah terrorists in an air strike
04:51 PM GMT
Anti-government demonstrators gather in Tel Aviv
Approximately 100 people have gathered in Tel Aviv ahead of tonight’s protests demanding elections to replace the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Protestors shout “We won’t form a government of racists, we won’t form a government of criminals.”
The main demonstration is expected to begin at 6.30pm local time (IST).
04:41 PM GMT
US asks China to pressure Iran to rein in Houthis
The United States has asked China to pressure Iran to rein in their Houthi allies’ attacks on Red Sea shipping.
A senior White House official told Reuters that national security adviser Jake Sullivan pressed Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, on the matter as the pair met in Bangkok, Thailand, on Satuday.
Beijing has told Washington that it will raise the issue with Iran. The US official said Washington would wait to see if China follows through on its promise.
04:34 PM GMT
'Large number' of Hamas gunmen killed in Khan Younis, says IDF
A “large number” of Hamas terrorists have been killed in operations in the southern city of Khan Younis, the Israel Defense Forces have said.
Commando and infantry units have engaged in heavy fighting in the past 24 hours in the once densely-populated city.
The Givati Brigade, an infantry formation, also killed a “large number” of their enemy in separate clashes in the city including a seven-man cell that fired rocket propelled grenades at Israeli soldiers.
The Maglan commando unit raided multiple Hamas sites in Khan Younis while the Egoz unit “eliminated many armed terrorists” in close quarters fighting.
The IDF said commandos also directed an airstrike on three Hamas terrorists who were attempting to plant explosives near their positions.
04:11 PM GMT
Hostages’ families protest outside Netanyahu’s home
Demonstrators, including family members of those held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, have gathered to protest outside Benjamin Netanyahu’s home in Caesarea.
The protestors are holding posters of hostages being held in Gaza, calling out their names as well as demanding that the government “bring them home now”.
Over 130 hostages are believed to still be held by Hamas and its affiliates after being seized in the October 7 attacks, although several dozen are thought to have died since.
03:51 PM GMT
Grant Shapps condemns Houthi missile attacks
Grant Shapps has condemned the “intolerable and illegal attack” after an oil tanker was hit by a Houthi Missile in the Red Sea.
In a post on social media platform X, the Defence Secretary vowed to defend the major shipping route. “This intolerable and illegal attack on maritime shipping is the latest on innocent people and global trade. It is our duty to protect freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and we remain as committed to that cause as ever”, he wrote.
The crew on the Marlin Luanda fought the flames for hours after it was struck last night, with the fire on the tanker now “fully extinguished”, according to Trafigura.
03:33 PM GMT
US mulls ousting Abbas from post-war Palestinian Authority government
The United States is considering ousting Mahmoud Abbas from the Palestinian Authority as part of plans for the post-war governance of Gaza and the West Bank, it has been reported.
The New York Times reported that Mr Abbas, who has been President of the PA since 2005, would be moved into a ceremonial role in that scenario.
The US is leading a group of 10 countries working on the release of hostages and a ceasefire deal, as well as overhauling the PA and normalising Saudi relations with Israel in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Benjamin Netanyahu has routinely criticised the creation of the Palestinian Authority as a result of the Oslo Accords in 1993-5, and was quoted that the historic deal had caused as many deaths as the October 7, “though over a longer period”.
03:21 PM GMT
Switzerland to consider suspending $23 million funding
Switzerland has said no decision would be made regarding an expected aid payment to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) until “serious allegations” made against staff regarding their involvement in October 7 were clarified.
The Swiss foreign ministry said the country’s annual contribution to UNRWA, approximately 20 million swiss francs ($23 million), had yet to be approved for 2024.
03:03 PM GMT
Amnesty International condemns UK withdrawing UNRWA funding
Amnesty International has condemned Britain for suspending its funding for the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) after it sacked 12 employees accused of participating in the October 7 terror attacks.
“This is a terrible decision and should be reversed immediately – UNRWA has already said it’s urgently investigating these claims,” said Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty International UK’s crisis response manager.
“UNRWA is desperately trying to assist Palestinian civilians facing famine and disease in Gaza amid Israel’s ongoing bombardment and blockade, and it’s these civilians who’ll be punished by the UK’s decision.
“Coming soon after the Government’s spurious criticism of the ICJ genocide case, it looks like the UK is again prioritising its diplomatic and business relationships with Israel and with the United States over the catastrophic plight of the Palestinian people.”
02:54 PM GMT
Jenrick welcomes UK suspension of UNRWA funding
Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick has welcomed the government’s decision to suspend funding for the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
He has previously accused the government of being “too blasé about who we have funded and for what purpose”.
Mr Jenrick told The Telegraph: “I’m pleased the UK has followed the US in pausing support to UNRWA whilst these allegations are investigated.
“It’s an organisation whose leadership has fallen into a moral morass of complicity with Hamas, turning a blind eye to the terrorists.
“We need a new mechanism to support the people of Gaza that can drive economic development, demilitarisation and deradicalisation, once Hamas have been eradicated.”
Read the full story here
02:44 PM GMT
Yemen leader calls on the US and Saudis to ‘eliminate’ Houthi threat
Yemen’s internationally recognised leader has called on the US and Saudis to “eliminate” the Houthi threat in the Red Sea.
Rashad al-Alimi, head of the Saudi-backed presidential leadership council, said that “defensive” US and British strikes on Houthi rebels aren’t enough, and called for US and Saudi support to “eliminate” the Houthis’ capabilities to attack ships in the key trading passage.
The Houthis and the Yemeni government have been locked in conflict for decades, with a Saudi Arabia-led coalition backing Mr al-Alimi’s government in an attempt to stop Houthis taking over Yemen and turning the country into an Iranian satellite. The Houthis control the majority of the Western half of Yemen, including the capital, Sana’a.
02:20 PM GMT
Anti-government protests planned to take place across Israel
Protests against the government and the war are due to be held in several locations across Israel this evening.
Demonstrations demanding elections will be held in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be’er Sheva and Caesarea, whilst an anti-war protest and a demonstration calling for the release of the hostages are also both planned to take place in Tel Aviv.
01:50 PM GMT
UNRWA funding suspensions 'hurt those literally starving to death'
The suspension of funding to the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) will “penalise people who are literally starving to death”, a think tank director has said.
Chris Doyle, director of the Council of British-Arab Understanding, made the remarks to Sky News before Britain announced it was joining the United States, Canada, Australia and Finland in pausing its funding for the agency.
“It’s hard to think that the US reputation across the world could sink much lower,” he said.
“But on the basis of allegations that have been made... it has suspended aid to the most vulnerable people, not just in the Gaza Strip, but on the planet.”
Mr Doyle added: “So the United States thinks in this situation that it should penalise people who are literally starving to death. It beggars belief.”
01:28 PM GMT
Finland suspends funding to UNRWA
Finland has joined the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and Italy in suspending funding for the the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
Ville Tavio, its development minister, said: “We must make sure that not a single euro of Finland’s money goes to Hamas or other terrorists.
“The suspicion that employees of an organisation receiving humanitarian assistance are involved in a terrorist attack is the reason for suspending the payments.
“The case must be investigated thoroughly.”
01:22 PM GMT
New evacuation route opened for Khan Younis civilians, IDF says
The IDF says it has opened a new evacuation route for civilians in Khan Younis to allow movement away from areas of fighting.
There’s been intense fighting in the city in Southern Gaza over the past few days.
01:07 PM GMT
UK to suspend funding for UNRWA after October 7 allegations
Britain is suspending its funding for the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) after 12 of its workers were sacked following accusations they participated in the October 7 terror attacks.
In a statement, the Foreign Office said the UK was “appalled” by the claims.
“The UK is appalled by allegations that UNRWA staff were involved in the October 7 attack against Israel, a heinous act of terrorism that the UK Government has repeatedly condemned,” it said.
“The UK is temporarily pausing any future funding of UNRWA whilst we review these concerning allegations.
“We remain committed to getting humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza who desperately need it.”
01:04 PM GMT
Fire on Houthi-attacked Marlin Luanda extinguished
The fire on the Houthi-targeted Marlin Luanda container ship was extinguished shortly after midday on Saturday, its owner has said.
Traifigura said the fire in the vessel’s cargo tank had been “fully extinguished” and the ship was “sailing towards a safe harbour”.
It praised the “exceptional dedication and bravery” of the ship’s master and crew, who it said brought the fire under control “in highly difficult circumstances”.
12:53 PM GMT
UK Foreign Office has ‘considerable concerns’ over ICJ ruling
The Foreign Office has said it has “considerable concerns” over the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on Friday that stated Israel should do everything it can to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza.
A spokesperson said South Africa’s legal case “is not helpful” for achieving “a sustainable ceasefire”.
The spokesperson also refuted the claim that Israel has breached the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, labelling it as “wrong and provocative”, and maintaining that “Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas in line with IHL (international humanitarian law)”.
12:36 PM GMT
Torrential downpour in the Gaza Strip 'worsens humanitarian situation'
A torrential downpour in the Gaza Strip has worsened the humanitarian situation, according to a report in Haaretz.
Videos on social media have shown flooding in the refugee camps in the southern Gaza Strip. Makeshift tents appear to have collapsed due to rain and mud.
12:24 PM GMT
Pictured: Oil tanker attacked by Houthis remains ablaze
12:17 PM GMT
Two children carrying Israeli flag climb under Gaza border
On Thursday, two young Israeli children managed to climb under the Gaza border fence, carrying an Israeli flag with them. They attempted to plant a flag, but did not cross into Gaza territory in the process.
The incident occurred as settler activists gathered at a closed military zone near the border in Mefalsim to plant trees for the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat.
Right-wing groups have called for the resettlement of Gaza after the war, but the government has stated that it has no intention to do this.
In the video, an adult is heard in the background telling one child to “plant the flag well”. The children climbed back under the fence after the army arrived to disperse the illegal gathering.
11:44 AM GMT
Senior Palestinian politicians demands UNRWA funding cuts are reversed
A senior Palestinian politician has called on the countries that suspended their funding to the UNRWA to reverse their decision.
Hussein al-Sheikh, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said the funding cuts represented “great political and humanitarian relief risks” in a time of “continuing aggression against the Palestinian people”.
He added: “We call on countries that announced the cessation of their support for UNRWA to immediately reverse their decision.”
11:31 AM GMT
IDF kills 11 Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in Khan Younis
The IDF has confirmed the killing of 11 gunmen from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza.
It said the terrorist group, which is allied with Hamas, was attempting to plant explosives near troops and other gunmen were firing rifles and throwing grenades at its soldiers.
11:16 AM GMT
Gaza civilian death toll rises to 26,257
The number of civilians killed in Gaza has risen to 26,257 after 174 people were killed in the past 24 hours, Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry has said.
11:02 AM GMT
Egypt almost recalled ambassador over Israel’s ICJ accusations
Egypt almost recalled its ambassador to Israel after it accused Cairo at the International Court of Justice of failing to deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, it has been reported.
The Wall Street Journal said that senior officials in Cairo discussed the possibility of recalling the ambassador but decided to publish a statement refuting Israel’s claims.
Egyptian officials told the newspaper that relations between Cairo and Jerusalem are at their lowest point for at least two decades.
10:51 AM GMT
Cutting funding to UNRWA over 'tiny proportion' of staff is 'troubling'
The suspension of funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) because of a “tiny proportion” of its staff is “troubling”, a former Pentagon adviser on the Middle East has said.
Jasmine El-Gamal, who advised the department of defense from 2008 to 2017, said Palestinians in Gaza “depend on UNRWA for pretty much everything”.
She said suspending funding at a “critical time” because of the alleged actions of a “tiny proportion” of staff is “fairly troubling”.
The United States, Canada, Australia and Italy have all suspended funding the UNRWA in the wake of allegations that 12 of its workers participated in Hamas’s October 7 attacks.
10:31 AM GMT
Hamas condemns Israel 'blackmail’ against UNRWA
Hamas has condemned Israel’s allegations against the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) as “blackmail”.
Hamas’s press office warned “the UN and international organisations to not cave in to the threats and blackmail”.
The UNRWA suspended 12 workers on Friday after Israel alleged that they had been involved in the October 7 attacks.
10:22 AM GMT
IDF kills four Hezbollah terrorists in air strike
The IDF killed four Hezbollah terrorists in an air strike on southern Lebanon on Friday in response to earlier rocket fire.
Fighter jets struck three sites across the villages of Beit Lif and Deir Aames, which the IDF said were being manned by the Iran-backed terror group.
In response, Hezbollah fired rockets towards the central Galilee.
A total of 171 Hezbollah terrorists have now been killed since October 8 when the terror group first launched attacks on Israeli towns and military posts along the border.
10:13 AM GMT
UK needs to end UNRWA funding, Jenrick says
Robert Jenrick, Britain’s former immigration minister, has called on Britain to follow the United States and other Western countries in suspending funding for the UNRWA.
“The UK should follow the US in pausing support to UNRWA whilst these serious allegations are investigated,” he said.
“It’s an organisation staffed by many well meaning people, working in the most challenging circumstances, but whose leadership has fallen into a moral morass of complicity with Hamas, forever turning a blind eye to the terrorists.”
09:57 AM GMT
Australia and Italy suspend UNRWA funding after Israeli allegations
Australia and Italy have suspended their funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) after Israel alleged a number of employees were involved in October 7.
Penny Wong, Australia’s foreign minister, issued a statement on Saturday saying she is “deeply concerned” by the allegations and would “temporarily pause disbursement of recently announced funding” while it investigates.
Italy followed suit, with foreign minister Antonio Tajani announcing: “The Italian government has suspended financing of the UNRWA after the atrocious attack on Israel on October 7.”
The United States and Canada have also suspended their funding.
09:48 AM GMT
Israel vows to ban UN agency from Gaza after the war
Israel has said it will attempt to ban the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) from operating in Gaza once the war is over.
“UNRWA is not the solution – many of its employees are Hamas affiliates with murderous ideologies, aiding in terror activities and preserving its authority,” foreign minister Israel Katz said.
“Under my leadership, the foreign ministry aims to promoting a policy ensuring that UNRWA will not be a part of the day after, addressing other contributing factors.
“We will work to garner bipartisan support in the US, the European Union, and other nations globally for this policy aimed at halting UNRWA’s activities in Gaza.”
09:38 AM GMT
In pictures: IDF operations today
09:32 AM GMT
US and Canada suspend funding to UN in Gaza after October 7 allegations
The United States and Canada have suspended funding to United Nations aid operations in Gaza after it sacked 12 employees accused of participating in October 7.
The UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Friday that Israel had provided information alleging that some of its workers were involved in the attack in which 1,200 Israelis were killed and 240 taken hostage.
The US and Canada have both now suspended their financial support for the UNRWA and will direct the funds to Gaza in other ways.
Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s aid minister, said the country was “deeply troubled by the allegations relating to some UNRWA employees”.
The US state department said on Friday that it paused its funding “while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them”.