Hamas seizes first major aid shipment through new Gaza border crossing, State Department says

"If there is one thing that Hamas could do to jeopardize the shipment of aid, it would be diverting it for their own use," the State Department spokesperson said.

Published: May 6, 2024 11:46am

The U.S. State Department said that Hamas seized the first major shipment of aid sent by Jordan through a new border crossing into northern Gaza.

Jordanian military convoys last week brought the aid into the Gaza Strip via the Erez Crossing and unloaded it there. A humanitarian distributor then picked up the aid, but it "was intercepted and diverted by Hamas on the ground in Gaza," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Thursday.

The United Nations worked to recover the aid, and Miller said he believes the aid has since been released and returned to the humanitarian distributor.

"If there is one thing that Hamas could do to jeopardize the shipment of aid, it would be diverting it for their own use rather than allowing it to go to the innocent civilians that need it, so they certainly should refrain from doing that in the future," Miller also said.

Aid diversion has not been a widespread issue, per Miller. When a reporter pressed Miller about how many times aid has previously been diverted by Hamas, he responded: "There may have been minor ones in the past. I can’t speak to – this is the first major diversion of aid."

This is not the first report of issues with aid. Videos have circulated on social media for months showing armed men commandeering aid trucks in Gaza, although it is unclear whether the men are affiliated with Hamas or other organizations. Gazans are also reporting that they are buying food donations marked as being not for sale. In February, more than 100 people were killed in Gaza when thousands of people rushed aid trucks, officials said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House has approved a bill that would give Gaza more than $9 billion in humanitarian assistance, which is more than four times the area's annual GDP.

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