Hiding terror tunnel, Hamas blocks UN staff from inspecting school

Due to Hamas’ actions, some 4,000 Gazan schoolchildren will not be able to resume in-person learning at two UNRWA schools in September.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Hamas blocked UN staff from inspecting a UN-funded school because the terror group wanted to hide a tunnel underneath the educational institution, Kan News reported Tuesday.

A team from the UN Mine Action Services (UNMAS) had traveled to the UNRWA school in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City to ensure that the school was physically safe for in-person learning after being damaged during May 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls.

But when Hamas learned the inspectors were at the school, which reportedly has a terror tunnel underneath it, they sprang into action and immediately spirited the inspectors away from the site.

UNMAS then cancelled an inspection of another UNRWA school in Rafah, which is suspected to be the site of, or in close proximity to, another terror tunnel.

Due to the cancelled inspections, some 4,000 Gazan schoolchildren will not be able to resume in-person learning at the two UNRWA schools in September, unless Hamas decides to allow the inspectors to survey the institutions.

In June, UNRWA said in a statement that they had discovered a tunnel near a school in Gaza.

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“UNRWA condemns the existence and potential use by Palestinian armed groups of such tunnels underneath its schools in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable that students and staff be placed at risk in such a way,” the organization said.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, was outraged by the report.

“Knowing that a #Hamas tunnel runs under a school in #Gaza, @UN experts wanted to investigate whether it was safe to open it for the year. Hamas prevented them from operating and forced them out,” he wrote on Twitter, alongside photos of the tunnel from the site.

“4,000 Palestinian kids can’t go to school because of Hamas! The international community cannot ignore Hamas’s heinous human rights violations & the state of terror it inflicts on Gazans.”

“Hamas is a terror organization that uses innocents & children as hostages & human shields,” he added, calling on UN officials to investigate the incident.