Palestinian kids who fled their homes due to Israeli ground offensive, sleep at UN school in Rafah
Gaza kids sleep in UN school in Rafah. Photo by Reuters
Text size
related tags

For the second time within a week, employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency have found a hidden cache of rockets in one of their schools in the Gaza Strip. A senior Israeli official said that UNRWA representatives contacted Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem on Tuesday to brief them about the rockets and the agency’s plan to issue a public statement.

“Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the United Nations agency said in a statement issued Tuesday evening. “As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons. UNRWA strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.

“The Agency immediately informed the relevant parties and is pursuing all possible measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school. UNRWA will launch a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.

“UNRWA has reinforced and continues to implement its robust procedures to maintain the neutrality of all its premises, including a strict no-weapons policy and regular inspections of its installations, to ensure they are only used for humanitarian purposes.”

UNRWA issued a similar statement after employees found 20 rockets in a different Gaza education facility on June 16. In that statement, the agency said it was the first incident of its kind. Those rockets were handed over to Gaza authorities and apparently made their way back into the hands of Hamas militants.