UNRWA, the UN agency that runs relief services for the poorest Palestinians , has temporarily shut down its food distribution centers in Gaza after one of its compounds was stormed by angry protestors.
Demonstrators surrounded the compound on Thursday, after UNRWA  decided to cut cash payments to some of Gaza's poorest families.
"We fully understand the impact the decision to suspend cash assistance had on some of our beneficiaries," Robert Turner, head of the agency's Gaza operations, said in a statement, before adding:
"What happened today was completely unacceptable. The situation could very easily have resulted in serious injuries to Unrwa staff and to the demonstrators. This escalation, apparently pre-planned, was unwarranted and unprecedented." UNRWA has struggled financially for many years , trying to support not only around 800,000 Palestinians in Gaza but also many more in the West Bank. Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the ruling Hamas party , said the decision to close the food centers was "unjustified".
"When the administration of Unrwa asked the Palestinian security to intervene they arrived and stopped the chaos. We are asking Unrwa to rethink their decision," he said.