Hamas Operated Tunnel Found Under UNRWA in Gaza

By Yoni Weiss

Israeli soldiers operate next to the UNRWA headquarters, in the Gaza Strip, Thursday. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

Israeli forces have uncovered a network of tunnels beneath UNRWA’s Gaza headquarters, with some parts running beneath the compound, providing what the IDF claims is new evidence of Hamas exploiting the primary relief agency for Palestinians.

The revelation comes at a critical time for UNRWA, which is undergoing an internal probe and facing frozen funds from donor countries following allegations by Israel last month that some of its staff were also Hamas operatives. The tunnel, measuring 700 meters in length and 18 meters in depth, showcased various rooms, including office space, a tiled toilet, and chambers filled with computer servers and industrial battery stacks.

The closely escorted tour by reporters revealed a concrete-lined tunnel, and the visit began with a descent through a shaft next to a school on the periphery of the U.N. compound. The tunnel, described as stifling hot, narrow, and occasionally winding, led underneath UNRWA Headquarters, as confirmed by an army lieutenant-colonel leading the tour. The military claimed that the tunnel served as one of the central commands for Hamas intelligence, overseeing combat operations, energy supply for other tunnels, and various facilities. Despite UNRWA’s claim of vacating the headquarters early in the war, Israel asserts that the agency is compromised and must be replaced, while Hamas denies operating within civilian facilities.

The IDF’s revelation adds complexity to the already strained relationship between Israel, UNRWA, and Hamas, as the agency continues to provide essential services to a significant portion of the Gaza Strip’s population.

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