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US to offer $ 85 million in aid to Palestinian refugees

The United States will provide USD 85 million in humanitarian assistance to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

world Updated: Dec 31, 2008 15:36 IST

The United States will provide USD 85 million in humanitarian assistance to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, the State Department has said.

Of the USD 85 million, USD 25 million will go to the UN Relief and Works Agency emergency appeal for the West Bank and Gaza and the remainder to a general fund run by the agency, the department said.

The humanitarian situation is worsening in Hamas ruled Gaza as large scale airstrikes by Israel continue with the death toll from the offensive reportedly topping 370 for the past four days.

"The United States reiterates its deep concern about the escalating violence in Gaza and commends UNRWA's important work meeting for the emergency needs of civilians in Gaza at this very difficult time," it said in a statement.

The department repeated Hamas, the movement that controls the impoverished Palestinian territory, is "fully responsible" for breaking the cease fire and for the renewal of violence.

It also called on "all parties" to protect innocent lives and deal with the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza by granting the necessary access to UNRWA and other aid groups trying to help the population.