The commissioner of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, denied this Saturday any knowledge of a tunnel under its headquarters in and said the organization inspected the facilities a month before the Hamas attacks.

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He Israeli army made new accusations today, through a statement and a video, that fighters of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas used offices at the UNRWA headquarters in northern Gaza for their operations and displayed weapons supposedly found inside.

He also indicated that a tunnel 700 meters long and 18 meters deep that passed under the headquarters of the UNRWA had its electrical infrastructure connected to the agency’s facilities.

Lazzarini said through a message on the social network X that the UN agency “did not know what was under its headquarters in Loop”, who has learned about the tunnel from the media and has not received any official communication about it from the Israeli authorities.

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He adds that he cannot “confirm or comment” on that information because UNRWA staff left the headquarters in Gaza on October 12when the bombing intensified, and has not used the facilities nor is he aware of any activity there since then, except for the deployment of Israeli troops, per media references.

Lazzarini points out that while there was no “active conflict,” UNRWA inspected its facilities from the inside every quarter and that the last inspection of its facilities in Gaza “was completed in September 2023,” a month before the attacks that led to the ongoing conflict.

In any case, it highlights that the agency is a humanitarian organization that “has no military or security competence or capacity to carry out military inspections of what is, or could be, under its facilities”, but it has had mechanisms to alert suspicions and it has done so.

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“In the past, when suspicious cavities were found near or under UNRWA facilities, letters of protest were quickly sent to the parties to the conflict, including the de facto authorities in Gaza (Hamas) and the Israeli authorities,” a matter that It was reported and published “consistently” in the annual reports to the General Assembly.

Lazzarini stressed, finally, that the latest information deserves an independent investigation but criticized that “it is not possible to do so currently given that Loop “It is an active war zone.”

In the video that accompanies the military statement from the Israeli Army, the commander of the 401st Brigade Combat Team, Colonel Benny Aharon, affirms that Hamas has used the “opportunity offered by the UNRWA” daily and during the war to attack the Israeli military and civilians.

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Israel has already accused several UNRWA members of participating in the October 7 Hamas attacks, leading to the UN to order an investigation and prompted 18 countries – including the US, Japan, Germany and France – to announce the suspension of their contributions to the agency, which has assured that it will run out of funds before the end of the month.

According to the military note this Saturday, “large quantities of weapons were found inside the rooms of the building, including rifles, ammunition, grenades and explosives. Intelligence services and documents discovered in the offices of UNRWA officials confirmed that, in fact, the offices had also been used by terrorists of Hamas”.


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