UN finds tunnel opening under UNWRA school in Gaza


Illustrative: Working in a smuggling tunnel between Gaza and Egypt (photo credit: Hatem Moussa/AP)
Global agency says it sealed off underground passage after ‚unacceptable‘ find under its facilities

By TOI STAFF

United Nations officials discovered a tunnel built under a school in the Gaza Strip run by UNRWA, the international body’s agency for Palestinian refugees, the global body said in a statement.

Since the discovery some two weeks ago, UNRWA closed the school and sealed off the opening to the tunnel. The school resumed operations last Wednesday, the UN organization said.

The statement Saturday did not say where the tunnel led, where it was found, or who was believed to have constructed it.

“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 said.

UNRWA informed Israel’s Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories, IDF Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, of the incident and also lodged a complaint with the relevant authorities in Gaza over the violation of the neutrality of a UN facility, according to a Sunday report from the Hebrew-language Ynet website.

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