The main UN humanitarian agency for Palestinians said it was suspending operations in the Gaza Strip after protesters stormed its headquarters over cutbacks in aid.
Two thirds of the enclave’s 800,000 residents depend on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, meaning the move could cause further hardship caused by Israeli and Egytian controls on its borders.
The UNRWA said it had suspended some of its cash handouts due to budget shortfalls, however it has said that food distribution would “continue unchanged” in Gaza.
Following Thursday’s breach of its Gaza headquarters, Robert Turner, head of the agency’s Gaza operations, said: “What happened today was completely unacceptable: the situation could very easily have resulted in serious injuries to UNRWA staff and to the demonstrators. This escalation, apparently pre-planned, was unwarranted and unprecedented,”
“All relief and distribution centers will consequently remain closed until guarantees are given by all relevant groups that UNRWA operations can continue unhindered,” he added in astatement.