7 Feb 2009

UN aid to Gaza halted after Hamas seizes supplies

8:01 am on 7 February 2009

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has stopped importing aid into the Gaza Strip after Hamas seized more than 200 tonnes of food.

UNRWA said on Friday that 10 trucks of rice and flour were seized on Thursday on the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel.

A statement said the aid was taken away by trucks contracted by the Hamas social affairs ministry.

The agency said the incident was the second in three days. On Tuesday, 3500 blankets and more than 400 food parcels were seized at gunpoint from a distribution store in Beach Camp, Gaza.

About half the population of Gaza is dependent on UN food aid.

Hamas has indicated the goods would be returned, saying the incident was a mistake.