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UN cancels aid convoy amid Israeli bombing

The UN World Food Programme cancelled an aid convoy to Lebanon's embattled south after the Israeli military denied it safe passage.
None | By Press Trust of India, Beirut
PUBLISHED ON JUL 31, 2006 01:24 AM IST

The UN World Food Programme cancelled an aid convoy to Lebanon's embattled south on Sunday after the Israeli military denied it safe passage, the group said.

The six-truck convoy was scheduled to deliver more than 60 tons of food to Marjayoun, a Christian town near Lebanon's border with Israel. It was originally set to leave yesterday and was denied access then as well, said Mona Hammam, the top UN humanitarian coordinator in Lebanon.

"It's frustrating. There are places in the south that have run out of water and food, and we need access," she said.

The convoy would have been the United Nation's fourth dispatched to south Lebanon since Wednesday.

Starting tomorrow, the WFP said it would send at least two convoys a day to the south -- the region hardest hit by Israeli airstrikes.

It was coordinating and transporting aid from all UN agencies, as well as other humanitarian groups.

The flow of medicine, food and other humanitarian relief to the south has been slowed by the difficult logistics of arranging safe passage against Israeli airstrikes. Artillery shells have fallen within meters of the few truck convoys that have made the dangerous drive so far.

Israel grants safe passage on a convoy-by-convoy basis and 72-hour notice often is required. But Israel brought a UN observer into one of its military control rooms yesterday to help oversee the transfer of aid.

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