A spokesman for the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees said it will have to suspend food aid to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians for the second time this week because of the lack of fuel caused by the Israeli blockade. (Report: N.Germain)
The UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees is to suspend its food aid distribution in Gaza on Monday because of a lack of fuel caused by the Israeli blockade, a spokesman said on Sunday.
"We have exhausted our stocks of fuel, and are therefore forced to stop our food distributions to 1.5 million inhabitants in the Gaza Strip," UNWRA spokesman Chris Gunness said.
"It's the second time in a week," he added. "In the long term, the humanitarian situation is terrible."
Gunness later specified that the suspension would take effect from late Monday when supplies were expected to have dried up completely, rather than from the morning as stated earlier.
The agency only resumed distributing aid in the besieged Palestinian territory last Tuesday after a previous four-day interruption caused by fuel shortages.
UNRWA's decision came hours after the Israeli army said it shut two key crossings with Gaza through which most of the Hamas-ruled territory is supplied after they came under mortar fire.
The Karni and Nahal Oz crossings -- through which most of the impoverished territory receives its food, medical supplies, humanitarian aid and fuel -- would remain closed "until further notice," an army spokeswoman said.
The Jewish state previously closed down the Nahal Oz crossing and fuel terminal after two Israeli civilians were killed in a militant attack, causing an acute shortage of fuel in Gaza.
Israel slapped a punishing blockade on the Gaza Strip after the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in the territory nearly a year ago, allowing only a minimum of basic supplies through the crossings.
Date created : 2008-05-05