UN Agency Slams Hamas After Discovering Tunnel Under Two Gaza Schools

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People walking inside a United Nations school where hundreds of families have sought refuge after fleeing their homes following heavy Israeli forces' strikes, in Jebaliya refugee camp, July 25, 2014.Credit: AP

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which operates in Gaza, has discovered a Hamas tunnel passing under two of its schools in the enclave, it said on Friday.

UNRWA condemned the existence of the tunnel in the Maghazi camp in a statement.

"It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way," it said. "The construction and presence of tunnels under UN premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable international law, which provides that UN premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times."

UNRWA said it has "robustly intervened and protested to Hamas," and informed the organization that it intends to seal the tunnel, which was discovered on June 1, during the summer break. The tunnel had no entry or exit points on the premises, the agency said.

Responding to the discovery, Israel's Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories accused Hamas of "ruining Gaza."  

"It's clear as day that the entire Arab world has realized that the Hamas terror organization is the one ruining Gaza and destroying Gazans' chance for a better future," Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said on COGAT's Arabic language Facebook page, according to a statement. "Perhaps the time has come for the residents of Gaza to realize this for themselves."

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