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UN agency halts Gaza food rations

A Palestinian girl carried food supplies in a northern Gaza Strip refugee camp.


A Palestinian girl carried food supplies in a northern Gaza Strip refugee camp.

JERUSALEM — The UN Relief and Works Agency has indefinitely suspended food distribution in the Gaza Strip after protesters angry about the curtailing of a cash-assistance program for the poor stormed the agency’s main compound in Gaza City on Thursday, an official said on Friday.

‘‘There will be no food tomorrow,’’ said Adnan Abu-Hasna, a spokesman for the agency, which provides nutrition, education, health, and other services to some 815,000 Palestinian refugees, about half of Gaza’s population. ‘‘The food-distribution centers and the relief offices will be closed in the coming days unless there’s real security being provided to the life of our staff, because there is a great concern about their safety.’’

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The agency provides three-month rations of flour, oil, sugar, rice, and other staples to about 25,000 people each day through centers scattered across Gaza’s refugee camps. While they and the relief offices that provide psychological support are shuttered, the 246 schools and 21 health clinics that the United Nations runs in Gaza will operate as usual.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said his government would pursue ‘‘urgent and quick talks’’ with the agency.

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