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(photo credit: IDF)
Five tons of unexploded Israeli bombs stored in the Gaza Strip under Hamas police guard have been stolen, UN officials said Tuesday.
UN spokesman Richard Miron said the explosives were being stored in Gaza until a UN team of disposal experts could disarm them, but they disappeared.
The bombs were dropped on Gaza during Israel's offensive there last month, according to another UN official. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said three one-ton bombs and eight quarter-ton bombs were taken from the warehouse.
Miron said, "It's clearly extremely dangerous and needs to be disposed of in a safe manner." He said the material was under Hamas guard between Feb. 4 and 14 "in a warehouse in Gaza City under guard by Hamas police when it was stolen."
IDF spokesman Peter Lerner told The Associated Press that the explosives were probably taken by Hamas. He said Israel had been informed by the UN about the missing ordnance.
Hamas officials in Gaza contacted by the AP said they had no knowledge of the matter.