UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) condemned “the existence and potential use by Palestinian armed groups” of a tunnel found underneath a school in southern Gaza. It also condemned an Israeli airstrike on the building.
The existence of the tunnel was discovered during an investigation of the property following an Israeli airstrike on the UNRWA Zaitoun Preparatory Boys’ School “A” and Elementary Boys’ School “A”, despite the buildings being marked as UN schools and flying a UN flag. No one was killed or injured in the airstrike during the recent violence between Israel and the Hamas terror organization in Gaza. “The strike calls into question respect for the fundamental principle of inviolability” of UN buildings, a statement issued by the UNRWA said.
The tunnel was located 7.5 meters below the school. There were no entry or exit points for the tunnel on school property, according to the statement.
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“UNRWA condemns the existence and potential use by Palestinian armed groups of such tunnels underneath its schools in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable that students and staff be placed at risk in such a way. UNRWA demands that all parties desist from any activities or conduct that put beneficiaries and staff at risk and undermine the ability of UNRWA staff to provide assistance to Palestine refugees in safety and security. UNRWA installations are inviolable, and their neutrality must be respected at all times. UNRWA calls for the parties to the conflict to act in accordance with international law. Letters of protest regarding this incident have been sent to both parties,” the statement said.