U.N. Suspends Food Delivery To Gaza After Driver Killed By Israeli GunfireAll Headline News
January 8, 2009
New York, NY (AHN) - A United Nations aid agency on Thursday suspended delivering food to Palestinians refugees in Gaza Strip after one of its drivers was killed and another was injured by Israeli gunfire.
The incidents happened when a convoy of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) picking up supplies at the Erez crossing into Gaza and another convoy picking up the remains of an UNRWA worker earlier killed by Israeli bombardment came under Israeli fire despite getting clearance from Israeli authorities and bearing the UN flag.
UNRWA said humanitarian assistance to Gaza civilians caught in the fighting between Hamas militias and Israeli soldiers will not resume until the security of its workers are guaranteed.
"We are seeking those assurances. We're talking very urgently about how we can make better arrangements, more reliable arrangements to avoid these incidents on the ground which we simply cannot see repeated. Otherwise we simply won't be able to do our job," said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes in a news conference at the UN Headquarters in New York, according to the UN News Centre website.
"This is heartbreaking... a very, very difficult decision for us to take," UNRWA Director of Operations in Gaza John Ging told the same news conference by video link from Gaza. "The population here are in a dreadful state and really need our help at this point but we have also a responsibility to our staff, and eager as they are, and believe me they are, we cannot fly in the face of the security situation."