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Hamas grabs U.N. supplies from Gaza warehouse

JERUSALEM – Armed Hamas police broke into a Gaza warehouse packed with U.N. humanitarian supplies and seized thousands of blankets and food packages, officials said Wednesday.

It was a rare public clash between the international agency that feeds much of the territory and the militant group that rules it. And the incident highlighted difficulties facing donors seeking to bypass Hamas while helping Gazans survive and rebuild after Israel’s punishing military operation.

U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said UNRWA “condemned in the strongest terms” the confiscation of its aid supplies. The U.N. demanded the items be returned.

Hamas policemen stormed an aid warehouse in Gaza City Tuesday evening and confiscated 3,500 blankets and more than 400 food parcels ready for distribution to 500 families, said United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesman Christopher Gunness.