Defense Ministers US and UK speak about threats in the Middle East
US Defense Secretary Austin and his British counterpart Shapps spoke yesterday in the Pentagon about the security threat in the Middle East, the Pentagon reports.
They discussed issues such as “the escalating attacks by Iran-affiliated militias on US forces in the Middle East” and “the illegal Houthi attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea.” They also discussed humanitarian aid to Gaza and support to Ukraine, spokesman Pat Ryder said in a statement.
US military: three Iranian drones destroyed
The US Navy shot down three Iranian drones last night, the US military command reported. The army also reports having intercepted a Houthi anti-aircraft missile. According to the US military, the destroyer USS Carney was deployed in both cases.
Earlier, the army leadership said it had destroyed a surface-to-air missile from the Houthi rebels in Yemen yesterday morning. The missile was ready to be launched and posed a threat to American aircraft in the region, the Americans said. The Houthis have been shelling ships in the Red Sea for months that they say have a link to Israel.
Dutch cabinet: UNRWA cannot be replaced quickly
The Dutch cabinet also believes that for the time being there is no other organization that can take over the role of UNRWA in Gaza. “Whether you like it or not, we desperately need UNRWA to continue to provide aid in the near future,” said outgoing Minister Van Leeuwen for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in Parliament yesterday.
Yet the government has stopped new aid to this UN organization for Palestinian refugees, because Israel says that twelve UNRWA employees from Gaza were involved in the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7. According to Van Leeuwen, the suspension is a “political signal” to UNRWA, to make it clear how seriously the Netherlands takes the allegations. Today he speaks with UNRWA CEO Lazzarini.
The Netherlands is one of the most important donor countries for the UN organization. The suspension of aid by the Netherlands has no consequences for this year. The 19 million euros that the Netherlands had promised had already been transferred earlier this month.