The Israeli army and internal security agency claimed on Saturday February 10, 2024 to have discovered a tunnel of the Islamist movement Hamas under the headquarters of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza City , reports theFrance Media Agency (AFP).
UNRWA, which Israel accuses of being “totally infiltrated by Hamas”, for its part stressed that it has not occupied its HQ since October 12, five days after the unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israeli soil, which triggered the war in Gaza. The agency requested the opening of an independent investigation.
A “tunnel entrance” near a school
According to the Israeli army and Shin Beth, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, military operations in Gaza City in recent weeks led to the discovery of a “tunnel entrance” near a school managed by the UN humanitarian agency.
Over the past ten years, Hamas has dug numerous tunnels in the Gaza Strip, where its fighters hide, according to Israel. In October, a study by the Modern War Institute of the American Academy West Point identified 1,300 tunnels there, for more than 500 km of underground corridors, explains theAFP.
“The entrance led to an underground terrorist tunnel that was an important asset for Hamas military intelligence and passed under the building that serves as UNRWA’s main headquarters in the Gaza Strip,” indicate the Israeli army and Shin Beth in a press release.
An “electrical infrastructure connected” to Unrwa
“Electrical infrastructure” of the tunnel – 700 meters long and located 18 meters underground – “was connected” at the agency’s headquarters, “indicating that the Unrwa installations supplied the tunnel with electricity”, according to them. Documents and a stockpile of weapons within the UN itself “confirmed that the offices had also been used by Hamas terrorists,” they add.
Israel’s accusations “deserve an independent investigation, which is currently not possible given that Gaza is in an active war zone,” underlined the UN agency.
Israel recently accused UNRWA of having 12 employees, out of 13,000 employees in the Gaza Strip, involved in the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel. He also assured last week that he would prove “UNRWA’s links with terrorism”.
An internal UN investigation is underway concerning the employees implicated by Israel, from which UNRWA has separated, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appointed an independent commission to assess the “neutrality” of the agency, finally reports theAFP.