March 4, 2024

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Israel announced that it had found an underground tunnel under the headquarters of the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees

Israel announced that it had found an underground tunnel under the headquarters of the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees

Today, the Israeli army and the Israeli Internal Security Service announced the discovery of a tunnel belonging to the Hamas movement under the headquarters of the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza City.

UNRWA, which Israel accuses of being “completely infiltrated by Hamas,” for its part stressed that it had not been to its headquarters since October 12 – five days after Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israeli territory that led to the outbreak of war in Gaza – and He called for an independent investigation.

According to the Israeli army and Shin Bet, military operations in Gaza City over the past few weeks led to the discovery of a “tunnel entrance” near a school run by the United Nations humanitarian agency.

Ten years ago, Hamas dug many tunnels in the Gaza Strip, where its fighters are hiding, according to Israel. In October, a study conducted by the Modern War Institute of the US Academy of West Point recorded the presence of 1,300 tunnels, extending more than 500 kilometers of underground passages.

A statement by the Israeli army and the Shin Bet said: “The entrance leads to an underground terrorist tunnel, which was an important observation point for Hamas’ military intelligence, and passes under the building that is used as the main headquarters of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.”

They added that the tunnel's “electrical infrastructure”, which is 700 meters long and 18 meters deep underground, was “connected” to the agency's headquarters, “proving that UNRWA facilities supplied the tunnel with electricity.”

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They added that documents and weapons hidden inside the UN headquarters “confirm that the offices were also used by Hamas terrorists.”

UNRWA responded that its employees were forced to leave its headquarters on the orders of Israeli forces as shelling escalated in the area.

He added: “We have not used this building since we left it, and we have no knowledge of any activity that could occur there.” The building was last inspected in September 2023, it said in a statement.

The UN agency stressed that the Israeli accusations “need an independent investigation, which is not currently possible given that Gaza is located in an active war zone.”

Israel recently accused UNRWA of having 12 employees, out of the agency's 13,000 employees in the Gaza Strip, involved in Hamas' attacks on Israel on October 7. He also confirmed last week that he would prove UNRWA's “links to terrorism.”

An internal UN investigation is underway into the officials accused by Israel, from which UNRWA has been excluded, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed an independent committee to evaluate the agency’s “neutrality.”

Res-EMP

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