UPDATED ON: Friday, February 06, 2009 19:59 Mecca time, 16:59 GMT News Middle East UN halts Gaza aid over 'thefts' The Gaza Strip's 1.5 million people rely on aid to survive [File: AFP] A major UN relief agency has stopped importing aid into the Gaza Strip, after its supplies were allegedly stolen for a second time this week. The UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) said that 10 lorries loaded with humanitarian supplies were seized by Hamas members on Friday. "Unrwa has suspended all imports of aid into the Gaza Strip following the confiscation of hundreds of tonnes of food aid," a statement from the Unrwa said. "Unrwa's suspension of imports will remain in effect until the aid is returned and the agency is given credible assurances from the Hamas government in Gaza that there will be no repeat of these thefts." It was the second seizure of Unrwa supplies this week. Its officials said that Hamas members had seized 3,500 blankets and 400 food parcels at gunpoint from an Unrwa store on Tuesday. Hamas admission Ahmed al-Kurd, Hamas' social affairs minister, implicitly admitted that Tuesday's shipment was seized, saying that the aid should be more widely distributed to Gaza's 1.5 million population. Unrwa only provides assistance to those holding refugee status. Gaza is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. A stiffling economic blockade imposed by Israel for the past 18 months has crippled its economy and caused severe food and medicine shortages. Israel's 22-day long assault on the Palestinian territory has worsened the situation further, forcing many Palestinians to live on handouts. Source: Agencies --------------- Jusfiq Hadjar gelar Sutan Maradjo Lelo
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