The Israeli military has reportedly discovered underground tunnels beneath the headquarters of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City, according to the Times of Israel. The military went on to suggest that it has been used by Hamas militants to store electrical material.
Israel claimed the agency has collaborated with Hamas since the October 7 attack, when 1,200 Israelis were slaughtered and 253 more were abducted and taken back to Gaza. The Jewish state has also stated that a dozen staff members of the U.N. took part in the attack.
The Israeli army invited journalists to take a look at the tunnel on Thursday. While the tunnels did not appear to confirm Hamas militants operated under the tunnels, it did show that part of the tunnel ran underneath the facility’s courtyard.
The Israeli military insisted that the headquarters provided the terrorist group with electricity.
The Associated Press reported that UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said the agency did not have any knowledge of the underground tunnel. Lazzarini went on to suggest that an “independent inquiry” would be valuable.
The UNRWA has lost funding from top donor countries since the accusations surfaced late last month. The Times of Israel noted that the agency could stop operating in Gaza and other places throughout the Middle East within a matter of weeks.
However, the IDF’s discovery of the alleged Hamas data center while UNRWA is under investigation seems to be coincidental. The Israeli military did not know much about the Hamas data center until new intelligence emerged after the Shin Bet interrogations of captured terrorists, who helped pinpoint exactly where to dig, according to reports.
Colonel Benny Aharon — the commander of the 401st Armored Brigade — said: “The IDF was here previously, the first time was to destroy the enemy, but when we were here the last time we collected a lot of intelligence documents and findings, a lot of prisoners, and thanks to this we reached here. Now we carried out a targeted operation to take this capability away.”
“We had a basis of information, but not enough to be able to dig down 20 meters and find it, we needed a bit more. There’s information we get from prisoners we capture, from computers we find, from documents, maps,” he added.
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