IDF confronts UNRWA chief over mortars fired from Gaza school

Col. Nir Press, head of the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, met with the director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday to protest the use of a school run by the organization to fire mortars shells at Israel last week. Last Wednesday, the IDF released video footage taken by an unmanned aerial vehicle showing terrorists firing mortars from inside an UNRWA school compound in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF refrained from responding out of fear that a missile attack would damage to the school or injure innocent civilians. Nearly 100 mortar shells were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip last month. Press asked UNRWA Gaza chief John Ging how masked terrorists succeeded in entering the school compound in the middle of the day. Ging, UN officials said, told Press the terrorists gained entry after threatening the life of the Palestinian guard at the entrance to the school. Defense officials also wondered why UNRWA did not issue an official press release condemning the use of its school in the attack. UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness did, however, condemn the use of the school in an article that appeared in The New York Times on Friday. "UNRWA condemns the use of its facilities by militants, not least because these militant activities put the lives of schoolchildren and our teachers at risk and also disrupt our education program," Gunness told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.