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UNRWA: Hamas seizes aid blankets and food


Source: | 02-05-2009 09:40

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

For the first time since a de facto truce went into effect on January the 18th, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency has accused Hamas of seizing aid from one of its Gaza warehouses.

A Palestinian man carries a bag of food aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) at the refugee camp of Rafah, January 2008.(AFP/File/Said Khatib)
A Palestinian man carries a bag of food aid from the
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) at the
refugee camp of Rafah, January 2008.
(AFP/File/Said Khatib)

Hamas's Welfare Ministry denied the charge and accused UNRWA, which cares for much of Gaza's population of 1.5 million, of lacking neutrality and transparency.

A United Nations spokesman said Hamas policemen forcibly broke into an aid warehouse in Gaza City on Tuesday evening and confiscated 3,500 blankets and over 4-hundred food parcels.

Christopher Gunness, Spokesman for UNRWA, said, "we condemn it and we want this aid back. It belongs to the international community and of course it must go to the intended beneficiaries."

He said police had confiscated aid meant for 500 families after UN officials refused to voluntarily hand it over to the Hamas-run Ministry of Social Affairs.

However, the Minister of Social Affairs in Gaza, Ahmed al-Kurd, said the UN was giving the aid to local groups with ties to Hamas opponents, and that the organization had submitted to a political decision.

Hamas is under pressure to provide aid to Gazans, who are facing more hardship than ever since Israel's devastating three-week military offensive.

The United Nations is expected to take a leading role in rebuilding Gaza, because Israel and western governments will not deal with Hamas.

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Editor:Zhang Pengfei