Although Hamas has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to rehabilitate their attack tunnel network since its last war with Israel, Hamas denied any connection to the tunnel found under the 2 schools saying it “strongly condemned” the UNRWA statement because it can only be exploited by Israel to “justify its crimes.”
A Hamas tunnel passing between two Gaza schools belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) discovered during construction work in June has been sealed.
UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness confirmed that the agency in charge of Palestinian refugees had closed the tunnel underneath the two boys schools in the Maghazi refugee camp, which was found during the summer holiday at a time when the schools were empty.
Canada’s Representative to the Palestinian Authority Scott Proudfoot commended the agency for closing the tunnel and “protecting its children” following a visit to the site.
Following the June 1 discovered, UNRWA condemned the existence of the tunnel “in the strongest possible terms.”
A statement on their site also noted that “the tunnel has no entry or exit points on the premises nor is it connected to the schools or other buildings in any way.”
It was the latest case in a series of accusations against UNRWA for its affiliations with Hamas.
Last month, a Gaza staffer was suspended by the United Nations agency after being accused of being politically active in the Islamist group.
Gunness, said that the Palestinian refugee agency “has robustly intervened and protested to Hamas in Gaza.”
Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon sharply responded to the discovery, condemning Hamas.
“The cruelty of Hamas knows no bounds as they use the children of Gaza as human shields,” he stated.
“Instead of UN schools serving as centers of learning and education, Hamas has turned them into terror bases for attacks on Israel.”
Danon then called on the Secretary and General and the Security Council to intervene.
“The UN must act immediately to ensure that their structures and institutions are not being used to harbor the terror infrastructure of Hamas,” he concluded.
In a 50-day campaign against Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip and is considered a terrorist organization by the international community, Israel uncovered a vast tunnel network in which some 34 tunnels were destroyed.
Hamas has reportedly invested considerable resources to rebuild its network of attack tunnels over the past few years.
Hamas denied responsibility for the tunnel found at the schools saying that it “strongly condemned” the UNRWA statement and it would be exploited by Israel to “justify its crimes.”
Hamas had clarified the issue “with all factions and resistance forces, who clearly stated they had no actions related to the resistance in the said location,” the movement said, adding that it respected UNRWA’s work.
The UNRWA has founded schools with over 312,000 students in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and 262,000 in the Gaza Strip.
Previous reports from various watchdog groups have suggested the curriculum in textbooks taught at Palestinian schools incited terrorism and violence against Israelis, demonizing them and promoting martyrdom.
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