UNRWA discovers terrorist tunnel under Gaza school

UNRWA explained that a "man-made cavity" was identified underneath the school grounds.

 (TOP) A fighter from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, is seen inside an underground tunnel, in Gaza, August 18, 2014.  (photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)
(TOP) A fighter from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, is seen inside an underground tunnel, in Gaza, August 18, 2014.
(photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)

A tunnel was discovered under a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip , according to an announcement from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Tuesday.

UNRWA explained that a “man-made cavity” was identified underneath the school grounds. The area was sectioned off and the tunnel was sealed, the agency said.

“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,” UNRWA said in a press statement.

Tunnels and weapons continue to be found despite UNRWA objections

“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. Moreover, it exposes children and Agency staff to significant security and safety risks.”

UNRWA school damaged by fighting in Gaza (credit: REUTERS)UNRWA school damaged by fighting in Gaza (credit: REUTERS)

Tunnels and weapons continue to be found despite UNRWA objections, however. Tunnels and underground weapons caches belonging to Gaza terrorist groups have previously been discovered underneath or close to UNRWA schools.

In 2017, a tunnel was discovered under the Maghazi Elementary Boys A&B School and the Maghazi Preparatory Boys School that are located on the same premises.

The UNRWA Zaitoun Preparatory Boys’ School “A” and Elementary Boys’ School “A” were damaged during the 2021 Guardians of the Wall operation after what appeared to be a cavity and a possible tunnel was hit in an IDF missile strike near the school. UNRWA said that the tunnel was “approximately 7.5 meters below the surface of the school.” 

In 2014, a stockpile of 20 rockets were found in an UNRWA school that had been closed for the summer. 

Tunnel networks have been burrowed throughout Gaza by the ruling Hamas terrorist organization. They are used to store and transport munitions, serve as bunkers and command and control centers for terrorist officers, and allow safe passage for gunmen who might otherwise be targeted by Israeli forces.

"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."

UNRWA

UNRWA runs several schools throughout Gaza and the West Bank, including one girls’ school in Beit Anan which recently inaugurated a new community vegetable garden.