Israeli PM Netanyahu says UN agency for Palestinians must close

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees to be shut down, saying its mission "has to end."

Israel has accused some staff members of UNRWA of being involved in the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. The allegations have led a number of donor countries to pause funding to the agency.

Netanyahu met with a delegation of UN ambassadors from eastern European and other countries in Jerusalem on Wednesday. He said, "It's time that the international community and the UN itself understand that UNRWA's mission has to end."

He also said an alternative aid organization should be found to solve the problem of Gaza.

Israel continued its attacks in the southern city of Khan Younis and other areas in Gaza on Wednesday.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said the Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis had reported seven people were killed and nine injured.

Health authorities in Gaza said hospitals, including Al-Amal, have run out of food, with people's lives threatened. They also said the death toll from the Israeli attacks on the enclave had reached 26,900.

A senior US State Department official said on Wednesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will soon travel to the Middle East.

Blinken is expected to discuss the negotiations mediated by the US, Qatar and other countries for the release of hostages held by Hamas and a pause in the fighting.

This would be his fifth visit to the Middle East since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began last October.