Wednesday, February 04, 2009

UNRWA now admits Hamas stole aid (updated)

After weeks of denials, it appears that UNRWA finally admitted that Hamas has stolen aid from UNRWA itself:
The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, said Wednesday that Hamas had seized hundreds of food parcels and thousands of blankets destined for Gaza civilians in the wake of Israel's war.

"At 1430 on 3 February, over 3,500 blankets and 406 food parcels were confiscated from a distribution store at Beach Camp in Gaza by police personnel," it said in a statement.

"This took place after UNRWA staff had earlier refused to hand over the aid supplies to the Hamas-run Ministry of Social Affairs.

"The police subsequently broke into the warehouse and seized the aid by force. The aid was due to be distributed to five hundred families in the area," UNRWA said.

"UNRWA condemns in the strongest terms the confiscation of its aid supplies and has demanded that it is returned immediately."
This is not on the UNRWA site yet.

I am awaiting confirmation or comment from Chris Gunness.

UPDATES: Gunness replied with the official UNRWA press release. Aussie Dave commented that Gunness told Haaretz that this was the first time Hamas ever confiscated UN aid, even though we have seen numerous reports over the past year of exactly that happening.

And now Hamas denies that it did any such thing, according to Ma'an Arabic.