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Israeli forces block UN relief convoy headed for Jenin refugee camp

Israeli forces block UN relief convoy headed for Jenin refugee camp

Israeli forces today blocked the United Nations from delivering aid to the Jenin refugee camp, according to a spokesman for the world body.

"A convoy from the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East - known as UNRWA - accompanied by the Agency's Deputy Commissioner-General and the West Bank Field Office Director was prevented this morning by Israeli forces from entering Jenin refugee camp," spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York. He added that the Agency had been able to enter the City of Jenin, delivering 2,000 food parcels, along with blankets and blood supplies, to Jenin Hospital.

"UNRWA officials tell us they will try again tomorrow to enter the refugee camp," the spokesman said, adding that the Agency's ambulances "remain ready to enter the camp as soon as permitted to do so by Israeli forces."

At the same time, Agency officials continued assisting some 300 women, children and elderly persons who had been forced out of the Jenin camp last night and into Jenin City, many taking refuge in a Red Cross compound.

Reached by phone in Gaza, UNRWA spokesman Paul McCann told UN Radio that Israel had not responded to repeated requests for access to the wounded and hungry people in the camp. “We have written to the Israeli officials to protest the arrest and detention of some of our staff members, we have written a series of protests when Israeli military action destroyed our installations, we have written to protest that they killed one of our staff members who was riding in an ambulance in March that was fired on by Israeli troops,” he said. “We have not [had any] response to that either.” Listen

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Meanwhile, in Ramallah, Israeli soldiers entered an UNRWA-run school known as the Men's Training College, where several hundred boarding students are trapped by the fighting. "UNRWA officials have gone to the school to assess the situation," Mr. Eckhard said.