Friday, January 23, 2009

Armed men seize Jordanian relief cargo in Gaza

'Armed men seize Jordanian relief cargo in Gaza'
By Hani Hazaimeh Jordan Times 21 January 2009

AMMAN - Anonymous armed men captured a 13-truck convoy laden with foodstuff donated by Jordanians after entering the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official told The Jordan Times Tuesday.

Neither the convoy's drivers nor the trucks, which entered Gaza at the Karm Abu Salem crossing, are Jordanian, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The drivers were released; the hijackers drove the trucks.

The shipment was unloaded from a Jordanian convoy after it crossed into the Palestinian territories and then carried by non-Jordanian trucks rented by UNRWA into Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority official said: "This is not the first incident of this kind. We have learned that the food items, which were supposed to be given to Gazans for free, were being sold in the marketplace in Gaza City."

On Monday, an 11-truck convoy carrying food items from Kuwait was also seized at gunpoint, he added.

The Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation spokesperson denied he was informed of any hijacked aid convoys.

Government officials in Amman did not know about the case or were not available for comment.

UNRWA spokesperson Sami Mshasha told The Jordan Times on the phone from Jerusalem that he was not aware of any hijacked aid convoy, being busy with arrangements for the visit of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Gaza.

Mshasha said he would follow up on the report, but remained unavailable despite repeated attempts by The Jordan Times to contact him.