The Israeli army discovered a tunnel of the radical group Hamas, recognized as a terrorist group in the USA and Europe, under the building of the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza. It housed the Hamas intelligence center. UNRWA said that they did not know about the tunnel.
The Israeli military led the journalists through a 700-meter tunnel. It lies at a depth of 20 meters underground. Directly under the building of the UNRWA headquarters are the premises in which servers and other computer equipment were found. According to the military, it was a Hamas intelligence center. Also, underground service premises are found under the building of a nearby school run by the UN agency.
The servicemen demonstrated electric wires and fiber optic cables, some of which went to the surface – in the basement of the UNRWA building. From there, as they claim, electricity was supplied to the tunnel. In the agency building itself, Hamas weapons and ammunition were found, presumably left behind after the UNRWA staff left the headquarters.
The head of UNRWA Filipe Lazzarina in social networks H stated, that the agency did not know what was under his building. He clarified that all office employees stopped working in the building on October 12 last year and have not been there since then, so UNRWA cannot comment on the find. “Media reports require an independent investigation, which cannot be conducted in the conditions of active hostilities,” Lazzaryny added.
- In January, Israel presented to the UN a number of materials testifying to the direct participation of 12 UNRWA employees in the attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. The agency was informed about the dismissal of these employees and the beginning of an investigation. A number of donor countries have suspended UNRWA funding pending the results of the investigation. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel Israel Katz call to the termination of UNRWA’s work in the Gaza Strip.
- Israel has previously repeatedly criticized UNRWA, claiming that schools and hospitals managed by the agency were used by Hamas for terrorist activities.
- As a result of the attack by Hamas and “Islamic Jihad” on October 7, 2023, about 1,200 people were killed in Israel, 240 were taken hostage (about 130 of them remain in captivity, 31 hostages died). In response, Israel, having promised to destroy Hamas, launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip, which is under the group’s control. According to the Palestinian side, more than 30 thousand residents of the sector died as a result of the Israeli offensive.