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Page last updated at 22:28 GMT, Monday, 5 May 2008 23:28 UK

Israeli fuel allows Gaza reprieve

A Palestinian man carries sacks of food aid in the Gaza Strip - 24/4/2008
The UN distributes food aid to many of Gaza's 1.5 million residents

Israel has made a last-minute provision of fuel to a UN aid agency in the Gaza Strip after the body warned a lack of fuel was about to hit aid deliveries.

A spokesman for the UN Relief Works Agency (Unrwa) said it now had enough fuel to last about 20 days.

Earlier he had warned that aid supplies to 650,000 people would be halted.

Fuel supplies were interrupted when Israel closed two major crossing points into the territory after they came under mortar fire.

Unrwa stopped distributing food aid in Gaza two weeks ago for several days after its vehicles ran out of fuel.

Israel has blockaded Gaza since the militant group Hamas took power in the territory last year.

'Suffering'

"We have managed to pull back from the brink, but it is entirely unacceptable that a humanitarian and human resources organisation like UNRWA should have been pushed to the brink in the first place," Unrwa spokesman Christopher Gunness told AFP news agency.

"But the bigger picture is not about Unrwa, it's about the human face of the suffering of the people of Gaza," he said.

The Nahal Oz terminal and the Karni crossings - through which most food, fuel and humanitarian aid reaches Gaza - were closed by Israel on Sunday after a mortar attack.

Israel has said the crossings are being deliberately targeted by Hamas.

More than 80% of Gaza's population relies on humanitarian assistance, with UN food aid going to about 1.1 million people. A high proportion of them are children.



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