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The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Friday it has halted all aid shipments into the Gaza Strip due to interference by the ruling Hamas militant group.
The U.N. Relief and Works agency said it made the decision after Hamas personnel intercepted an aid shipment for the second time this week.
The Hamas government's social affairs minister, Ahmed al Kurd, ordered "the aid to be returned to the agency if it turns out it is indeed its property", Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said, according to AFP news agency.
He said no Hamas or Unrwa representatives had been present at the crossing when drivers loaded up the aid supplies, and the drivers had assumed they belonged to the Hamas government.
Hamas police in Gaza broke into a warehouse full of United Nations humanitarian supplies and seized thousands of blankets and food packages, a United Nations spokesman said Wednesday,
"Hamas policemen stormed into an aid warehouse in Gaza City Tuesday evening and confiscated 3,500 blankets and over 400 food parcels ready for distribution to 500 families," said United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesman Christopher Gunness.
They were armed, they seized this, they took it by force," Gunness said, terming the incident absolutely unacceptable