Israel strikes UNRWA facility taken over by Hamas

‘This is another example of Hamas’ systematic exploitation of civilian infrastructure and the civilian population as a human shield for its terrorist activities,’ the army said in a statement.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

The Israeli military struck buildings used by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad that previously served as headquarters for the UN Relief and Works Agency in northern Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said on Sunday.

According to the IDF, terrorists were operating within the buildings.

“This is another example of Hamas’ systematic exploitation of civilian infrastructure and the civilian population as a human shield for its terrorist activities,” the army said in a statement.

Precautionary measures were taken to minimize collateral damage to civilians, including aerial surveillance, the use of precise munitions, and other intelligence measures.

Weapons and tunnel shafts have been found in UNRWA facilities numerous other times. Israeli forces discovered a Hamas complex located directly under the UNRWA’s Gaza City headquarters.

Computer servers belonging to Hamas were directly connected to UNRWA’s electricity system.

The embattled UNRWA is under fire amid revelations that its staffers participated in Hamas’s October 7 attacks. Israeli officials demand that the agency be stripped of its authority in Gaza and defunded.

On May 30, the Knesset approved the first reading of legislation authorizing the Foreign Ministry to designate UNRWA as a terror organization and strip it of its diplomatic immunity, tax-exempt status, and other legal benefits.

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On the same day, the Israel Lands Authority ordered UNRWA to vacate its Jerusalem offices over violations of its lease.

Israel’s largest bank froze UNRWA’s account in February over suspicious financial transfers that the agency failed to adequately explain.

Palestinian refugees are the only refugee population with its own dedicated UN agency. The rest of the world’s refugees fall under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Israeli officials have called for UNRWA to be closed and for Palestinian refugees to be brought under the responsibility of the UNHCR.

The airstrike also comes on the heels of further revelations of Hamas using human shields.

Over the weekend, Israeli forces located and destroyed weapons caches inside a Gaza university and in residential homes, as well as a rocket launching site placed inside a humanitarian zone.

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 116 remaining hostages, more than 30 are believed dead.

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