JERUSALEM – The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees suspended aid to the Gaza Strip on Friday, accusing the territory’s Hamas rulers of stealing a delivery of humanitarian supplies for the second time this week.
The announcement by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency deepened tensions between the international body that assists the majority of Gaza’s 1.4 million people and the Islamic group that controls the coastal strip.
The crisis comes at a sensitive time. U.N. officials say Gaza’s needs are especially dire in the wake of Israel‘s military offensive against Hamas, which killed nearly 1,300 people, displaced thousands and caused widespread destruction.
Israel holds parliamentary elections Tuesday. New opinion polls published Friday showed a close race, but predicted the nationalist Likud Party, which advocates an even tougher line against Hamas, would head the next coalition government.
In a statement, UNRWA said it had suspended aid deliveries to Gaza after the Hamas-run Ministry of Social Affairs stole 10 truckloads of flour and rice delivered to Gaza on Thursday. Earlier this week, Hamas police took thousands of blankets and food parcels meant for needy residents.
“Hamas has got to hand back all the aid that they have taken and… >>>