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Drone attack kills three US soldiers in Jordan

There have been a number of developments in relation to the ongoing Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza, key among those was a drone attack against US forces stationed in north-eastern Jordan, near the border with Iraq and Syria. The United States has blamed Iran-backed militias in the region that have targeted American forces across the Middle East, since the start of Israel’s offensive in Gaza that has killed in excess of 26 000 people.

This, as the United Nations seeks to take swift action following extremely serious allegations against the UN Relief and Works Agency – UNRWA – that a number of its staff were involved in the October 7th attack against Israel. This, as the UN Security Council is set to meet on Wednesday, amid efforts for the Council to endorse the recent International Court of Justice Order that Israel prevent all acts of genocide in Gaza.

In just the latest regional escalation as a result of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, three US soldiers were killed and more than 30 injured by a one-way attack drone at a US logistics base known as Tower 22 in Jordan.

A statement from the White House says that while they are still gathering the facts of the attack, it knows that it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq. Iran has since denied any involvement.

The White House says it will hold those responsible for the attack at a time and in a manner of its choosing, a view echoed by President Joe Biden speaking on Sunday. I want to point out we had a tough day. Last night when we lost three brave soldiers in an attack on one of our bases. And we shall respond.”

This, as the United Nations scrambles to ensure that it’s UN Relief and Works Agency, the largest provider of humanitarian aid and relief in Gaza, remains funded with a number of countries led by the United States and Germany suspending funding to the Agency after an Israeli intelligence dossier alleged that multiple UNRWA employees were linked to Hamas or other militant groups, including participating in the October 7 attacks. Nine staffers have already been fired as the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services investigates further.

UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says, “An urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA will be conducted as it has been announced by Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA back on 17 January to protect the Agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance. Commissioner-General Lazzarini has taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of all the staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay. Any employee of UNWRA who is involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.”

UNRWA has warned that were funding not resumed, it would not be able to continue operations in Gaza and across the region beyond the end of February.

This as the Security Council is set to convene on Wednesday at the request of Algeria on behalf of the Arab Group that is seeking to activate, possibly through a resolution, the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice on Friday.

Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour says, “We are in close collaboration and consultation with South Africa. We are digging into all the details in order to take the appropriate steps, which of course these steps will be in the Security Council. If one has to look at the provisional measures separately and collectively, it gives the clear message that in order to do all the things that they are asking for, you need a ceasefire for it to happen.”

And negotiators from key countries including the US, France, Egypt, Israel and Qatar are said to be making constructive progress on a potential new deal under which Israel would pause military operations against Hamas for two months in exchange for the release of the more than 100 hostages who remain in capacity in Gaza.

White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby says, “President Biden spoke with Qatari Emir Sheikh al-Thani and Egyptian President al-Sisi. In a matter of fact, that second call with President al-Sisi just wrapped up here a little bit ago; to discuss the latest developments in Israel and in Gaza, including our efforts to secure the release of all the hostages taken by Hamas.”

In summary a lot of moving parts as it pertains to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, growing concerns about a regional military escalation, a humanitarian situation that remains precarious at best and questions about the continued viability of UNRWA in light of new allegations against the Agency tasked with bringing desperate relief to more than two million Palestinians in Gaza. This as moves in the Security Council later this week will be closely watched following the ICJs orders against Israel as efforts are now under way for a Council product to rubber-stamp the Court’s decision.

Source: eNCA

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