Israeli soldiers block UN convoys from Palestine refugee camp

30 August 2001

Two separate United Nations convoys travelling to a refugee camp in Gaza were blocked by an Israeli checkpoint today and forced to turn back without reaching their destination.

The convoy of Peter Hansen, Commissioner General of the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), was blocked at a newly erected Israeli checkpoint near the Rafah refugee camp, a UN spokesman said.

Mr. Hansen got out of the car and was threatened at gunpoint by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers and was told to immediately return to his vehicle. The convoy was forced to turn back and travel to Rafah by alternate roads.

Earlier in the day at the same checkpoint, four UNRWA trucks were fired at and were also forced to turn back. The trucks, clearly labelled as UN vehicles, were carrying 60 tonnes of foods for distribution to special hardship cases.

"UNRWA hopes that the Israeli authorities would allow UNRWA access to refugee areas in order to fulfil its humanitarian mandate," the spokesman said.

 

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