Terror tunnel found under UNRWA school in Gaza

United Nations aid group condemns digging of terror tunnel under one of its Gaza schools, but does not blame any particular group for the ‘serious violation’ of its ‘neutrality.’

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The United Nation’s aid organization for Palestinian Arabs announced this week its discovery of a terror tunnel under one of its schools in the Gaza Strip, condemning its presence without putting the blame on any specific group.

“The Agency protested strongly to the relevant authorities in Gaza to express outrage and condemnation of the presence of such a structure underneath one of its installations,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said in a statement.

“The presence of a man-made cavity underneath the grounds of an UNRWA school is a serious violation of the Agency’s neutrality and a breach of international law,” it continued. “Moreover, it exposes children and Agency staff to significant security and safety risks.”

The organization said it has sealed the tunnel off.

It is no secret that Hamas has dug entire networks of tunnels in the coastal enclave, as it has publicly boasted of it and posted videos of its armed forces carrying rocket launchers and other weapons while walking through them.  It has spent tens of millions of dollars building this subterranean infrastructure so its terrorist operatives could move about and store munitions without being seen by Israel’s eyes in the sky.

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One of the IDF’s main goals in last year’s Operation Guardian of the Walls was to destroy the dozens of miles of subterranean infrastructure it dubbed “the metro.” In one operation alone, the air force dropped some 80 tons of explosives on tunnels in the northern part of the coastal enclave.

The hope had also been catch many terrorists inside when they subsequently collapsed, but in a review of the 11-day clash in May, the army said that while the tunnels’ destruction was a significant setback for Hamas, it did not lose many men that way.

Then, too, one of the tunnels the IDF hit had been constructed under UNRWA educational institutions. Shortly after the operation ended, the agency admitted that it had found “what appears to be a cavity and a possible tunnel, at the location of the missile strike” on the inner courtyard of two boys’ schools in Gaza City.

The discovery led it to censure both sides of the conflict, with its press release beginning with a denunciation of Israel.

The Israeli Air Force had hit its compound with two missiles “with no advanced warning,” it complained, “contrary to the inviolability of UNRWA premises, and despite the schools being designated as an emergency shelter for civilians.” It did admit that no one was on the premises at the time.

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Regarding the IAF’s target, it said, “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.”

When UN personnel came in August before the start of the school year to check that there were no explosives left at the site, Hamas police quickly arrived and demanded that they leave. They complied, and the police closed off the area.