Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Live: France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly Israeli strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Middle east

UN agency halts Gaza imports in dispute with Hamas

Latest update : 2009-02-07

A major UN aid agency has suspended shipments to the Gaza Strip after Hamas seized supplies for the second time in a week. Hamas denies confiscating any supplies, claiming it was a misunderstanding between drivers.

REUTERS - A major United Nations aid agency said it suspended importing goods into the Gaza Strip on Friday because the Islamist group Hamas that rules the territory had seized supplies for the second time this week.

Hamas denied it confiscated any supplies, saying it was a misunderstanding between drivers due to a lack of coordination.

Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which supports much of Gaza's 1.5 million population, said Hamas forces had seized 10 trucks loaded with humanitarian supplies on Friday. Two days earlier, Hamas men took blankets and food from an UNRWA store in Gaza.

"The Hamas government must return all of the aid that's been confiscated ... and we have to be given by the Hamas government credible assurances that this will not happen again," Gunness told Reuters. "If it doesn't happen, then we will continue with the suspension of our imports."

U.N. Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon also pressed Hamas to release the aid shipment and "refrain from interference with the provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance", his spokeswoman said.

A Hamas spokesman said two of its members had met the head of UNRWA and were able to "end the crisis", but it was unclear if the agency would return to normal operations.

Gunness said that the aid agency had supplies in reserve and food distribution would be able to continue for days.

Ahmed al-Kurd, welfare minister in Gaza's Hamas government, said the supplies were taken by mistake.

"It was a misunderstanding between drivers," Kurd said. "We have told UNRWA they can come ... and take the goods. For some reason, they did not come."

Humanitarian groups have complained that Israel has obstructed the entry of supplies into Gaza, further stifling reconstruction efforts after an Israeli offensive killed 1,300 Palestinians, left 5,000 wounded and thousands homeless.

UNRWA extended its aid roster following the 22-day Israeli campaign last month to include employees of the Palestinian Authority, which answers to Hamas's rival, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah faction.

The overseeing of aid and reconstruction in the Gaza Strip is a source of friction between Hamas and Fatah, which lost control of the territory to the Islamist group in internal fighting in 2007.

UNRWA was set up in 1948 to provide assistance to Palestinian refugees.
 

Date created : 2009-02-07

COMMENT(S)