UNRWA Denounces Finding of Tunnel Underneath Gaza School

View of a Hamas tunnel near the border with the Gaza Strip, in 2018. (Dario Sanchez/Flash90)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Wednesday that it had discovered a “man-made cavity” underneath the grounds of one of its schools in the Gaza Strip, and condemned it as a breach of its neutrality and a threat to students’ safety.

The UNRWA said that the agency sealed the cavity. The statement did not specify the name of the school or which community it was located in.

“The presence of a man-made cavity underneath the grounds of an UNRWA school is a serious violation of the Agency’s neutrality and a breach of international law. Moreover, it exposes children and Agency staff to significant security and safety risks,” the agency’s statement said.

Israeli officials have denounced Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for endangering civilians by deliberately maintaining tunnels, weapons caches and command and control centers amidst apartments, schools, health clinics and mosques.

More than 291,000 Palestinian students attend classes in 278 UNRWA-administered schools across Gaza.

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