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U.S. sanctions 'extremist' Israeli group that blocks aid trucks from entering Gaza

Tzav 9 wants aid to Palestinians in Gaza to stop until all hostages captured in Oct. 7 attacks returned to Israel

By Ehren Wynder
The Israeli Tzav 9 group has called for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to leave Jerusalem and accused the agency of aiding Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack. File Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
The Israeli Tzav 9 group has called for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to leave Jerusalem and accused the agency of aiding Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack. File Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI | License Photo

June 14 (UPI) -- The United States on Friday designated the Israeli Tzav 9 a "violent extremist" group for its efforts to stop humanitarian aid from entering Gaza.

According to a State Department release, people representing Tzav 9 have for months attempted to block roads and used violence to prevent aid trucks from reaching Palestinians under siege due to the Israel-Hamas war.

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In May, the group looted and then set fire to two aid trucks near Hebron in the West Bank, according to the State Department.

"The provision of humanitarian assistance is vital to preventing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza from worsening and to mitigating the risk of famine," the statement read. "The government of Israel has a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian convoys transiting Israel and the West Bank en route to Gaza.

"We will continue to use all tools at our disposal to promote accountability for those who attempt or undertake such heinous acts, and we expect and urge that Israeli authorities do the same."

Tzav 9 has demanded an end to all aid to Palestinians in Gaza until all hostages captured in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks are returned to Israel.

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The group in March protested outside of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency offices in Jerusalem demanding the agency's removal from the city and accusing it of aiding Hamas.

UNRWA since 1949 has aided Palestinian refugees with food, education, health care and social services, but the Israeli government issued a report in January accusing the agency of assisting Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack.

The report prompted the United States to suspend UNRWA funding. The European Union also suspended funding but resumed it in March 1 after questioning Israel's allegations.

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