UNRWA closes Hamas tunnel detected under two of its Gaza schools

"It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way," says group's spokesman.

August 15, 2017 08:31
1 minute read.
Palestinians tunnel

Young Palestinians advance through a tunnel during a military exercise organized by Hamas, east of Gaza City, last year. (photo credit: REUTERS)

UNRWA has sealed a Hamas tunnel it found two months ago that the terrorist group had built under its two of its boys school in the Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

On Monday, Canada’s Representative to the Palestinian Authority Scott Proudfoot congratulated the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees for taking care of the tunnel.

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“Visited school in Meghazi #refugee camp #Gaza; bravo @UNRWA for upholding neutrality & protecting children by detecting & filling in tunnel,” he tweeted.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness confirmed that the agency had closed the tunnel, which it discovered at the beginning of June after the Maghazi Elementary Boys A&B School and the Maghaz Preparatory Boys School had been closed for the summer.

In a press release written in June, Gunness said, “UNRWA can confirm that the tunnel has no entry or exit points on the premises nor is it connected to the schools or other buildings in any way.

“UNRWA condemns the existence of such tunnels in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way,” he said.

“The construction and presence of tunnels under UN premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable international law, which provides that UN premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times,” Gunness wrote.

He said in June that UNRWA had lodged a complaint with Hamas about the tunnel and told the group, which has governed the Strip since 2007, that the agency intended to seal it.

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