The Latest | Germany will resume working with UN agency for Palestinians, following review

Germany said Wednesday that it plans to follow several other countries in resuming cooperation with the U.N. relief agency for Palestinians in Gaza after the publication of an independent review of its neutrality.

The previous day, a Palestinian health official said that a tent camp in Khan Younis, seen under construction in satellite imagery, was being set up to house displaced people who are currently sheltering in a hospital and is not related to any impending military operation. Its presence underscores the struggle to find shelter in Gaza, where some 80% of people have fled their homes.

More than half of the territory’s population of 2.3 million have sought refuge in Rafah, where Israel is expected to mount an offensive soon.

The conflict has led to regional unrest, pitting Israel and the U.S. against Iran and allied militant groups across the Middle East. Israel and Iran traded fire directly this month, raising fears of all-out regional war.

The Israel-Hamas war was sparked by the unprecedented Oct. 7 raid into southern Israel in which the militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages. Israel says the militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The war in Gaza has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, around two-thirds of them children and women. It has devastated Gaza’s two largest cities and left a swath of destruction. About 80% of the territory’s population has fled to other parts of the besieged coastal enclave.

The U.S. Senate passed a $26 billion aid package late Tuesday that includes around $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, which experts say is on the brink of famine, as well as billions for Israel. President Joe Biden has promised to sign it immediately.


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— A legal challenge over the UK’s role in arms sales to Israel will go ahead

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Here is the latest:


TEL AVIV, Israel — The Israeli military says it is deploying two reserve brigades for missions in the Gaza Strip.

Wednesday’s announcement came as Israel prepared for a ground invasion of Rafah, the southern Gaza city that Israel says is Hamas’ last major stronghold.

More than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million is sheltering in the city, and an offensive there has raised international concern over the potential harm to civilians. Israel has been gradually reducing the number of troops it has in the territory, but officials have said that was with the aim of regrouping as the army prepares to move into Rafah.

Israel considers an invasion there necessary to meet its war aim of destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.

In a statement Wednesday, the Israeli military said the brigades would be involved in “defensive and tactical missions” in Gaza, without elaborating. It said the soldiers have been studying the main lessons from the fighting in Gaza ahead of their deployment.

The military said the brigades had previously been operating along Israel’s northern border, where the militant group Hezbollah and Israeli forces have been exchanging fire throughout the war in Gaza.


BERLIN – Germany said Wednesday it plans to follow several other countries in resuming cooperation with the U.N. relief agency for Palestinians in Gaza after the publication of an independent review of its neutrality.

Germany’s foreign and development aid ministries said in a joint statement Wednesday that the recommendations of the report “must now be implemented promptly.”

Among those recommendations were stronger oversight of UNRWA’s leadership and greater international involvement in supporting the agency as it addresses neutrality issues.

The German statement said that “against this background and accompanying these reforms, the German government will shortly continue cooperation with UNRWA in Gaza, as Australia, Canada, Sweden and Japan, for example, already have done.”

It said that Germany will consult closely with its “closest international partners” on the payment of further funds. Germany is a staunch ally of Israel.