LONDON: UK leader Rishi Sunak announced Monday that Britain was sending an additional £20 million ($24 million) of aid to help civilians in Gaza affected by the war between Israel and Hamas.
The announcement brings the amount pledged to Palestinian territories by Britain since Hamas’s attack on Israel earlier this month to £30 million, after £10 million was made available last week.
Hamas stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, and killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death on the first day of the raid, according to Israeli officials.
More than 5,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed across the Gaza Strip in relentless Israeli bombardments in retaliation for the attacks by the Palestinian group, according to the latest toll from the Hamas health ministry in Gaza.
“We are providing an additional £20 million of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, more than doubling our previous support to the Palestinian people,” Sunak told parliament.
Before the recent pledges, the UK had committed £27 million to Palestinians this year.
Sunak’s announcement came while updating lawmakers on the situation in the Middle East following his visit to the region last week.
He said the arrival through the Rafah crossing of some aid trucks into Gaza was “important progress” but added “it is not enough.”
“We need a constant stream of aid pouring in, bringing the water, food, medicine and fuel that is so desperately needed,” the prime minister added.
Sunak also told MPs that Britain had determined that the explosion at the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds of people last Tuesday was probably caused by a missile fired from within Gaza.
Hamas and Israel have blamed each other for the blast at the health facility.
“We have taken care to look at all the evidence currently available,” Sunak said.
“On the basis of the deep knowledge and analysis of our intelligence and weapons experts, the British government judges that the explosion was likely caused by a missile, or part of one, that was launched from within Gaza towards Israel,” he added.
France’s DRM military intelligence agency said on Friday that there was no evidence that an Israeli strike had caused the explosion.