UN finds Hamas tunnel under one of its schools in the Gaza Strip

Illustrative - Tunnel discovered by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) discovered another Hamas tunnel under one of its schools in the Gaza Strip.

Reports of the discovery made two weeks ago were made public on Sunday, the UNRWA calling on Hamas to cease any “activities or conduct that put beneficiaries and staff alike at risk”. The UNRWA confirmed it had updated the IDF and Israel’s Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories, Yoav Mordechai.

The United Nations responded to the tunnel discovery, releasing the statement “The presence of a tunnel underneath an UNRWA installation, which enjoys inviolability under international law, is unacceptable. It places children and agency staff at risk. The Agency again demands full respect for the neutrality and inviolability of United Nations premises at all times. Any activities or conduct that put beneficiaries and staff alike at risk, and undermine the ability of UNRWA staff to provide assistance to Palestinian refugees in safety and security, must cease.”

Hamas is known for building its terror tunnel network underneath UN schools to avoid them being attacked by Israel. Over 35 tunnels have been located to date, majority destroyed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

This summer, Israel announced that it would build and underground barrier on Gaza border with Israel and Gaza border with Egypt, the border to extend into the Mediterranean Sea. The barrier will include smart, sensory technology to detect tunnel construction.

Hamas warned Israel that the construction of the barrier as an “declaration of war”, the terrorist organization threatening Israel releasing the statement “This is a declaration of war. We will not allow the occupation to carry out its plots and crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and we will prevent the construction of this barrier by all means… The entry of the occupation army’s troops and equipment into the Gaza Strip to carry out this work is tantamount to a military incursion into Gaza and Hamas will respond accordingly. We will not sit idly by and we will respond with force the likes of which Israel has never known.”

The underground barrier on the border with Gaza is Israel’s third defense barrier to be constructed on the border. The first barrier was constructed post-Oslo Accords in 1994, the second following the disengagement from the Strip in 2005. During the disengagement, over 8,500 Israeli, Jewish citizens were pulled from their homes as an effort for resuming peace negotiations with the Palestinians. The Gaza Strip was then taken over by Hamas. Since then, Israel has been subject to rocket attacks and terror tunnels into Israeli territory for over a decade.

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, October 29, 2017, and reposted with permission.