Hamas has prevented UN bomb disposal experts from inspecting a Palestinian refugee agency school in the Gaza Strip under which a tunnel dug by the terror group was uncovered during fighting in May, the Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday.
The team was asked by the UN Relief and Works Agency to make sure that its Zaitoun Preparatory Boys’ School was safe for students to return to with the upcoming start of the new academic year. The experts were to ensure that no unexploded munitions were in the compound, left over from the fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas.
Sources in the Gaza Strip said that the experts arrived at the compound, but when Hamas learned of the development, it swiftly sent police to block them and order them to immediately leave.
The team was also supposed to check another UNRWA school in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, where it is suspected that Hamas dug another tunnel. Following the disruption at the first site, the UN team cancelled the second inspection as well.
As a result of the developments, UNRWA told Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, that it will not permit the 4,000 students who attend the schools to return to studies until the sites are properly checked, Kan reported.
Hamas has dug an extensive network of tunnels under Gaza, which are used to move its forces or store weapons, including rockets and launchers.
In the wake of the Kan report, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan asked the UN director-general and UNRWA director-general to carry out a thorough review of all UNRWA sites in the Gaza Strip.
“The international community cannot ignore Hamas’s heinous human rights violations & the state of terror it inflicts on Gazans. Hamas is a terror organization that uses innocents & children as hostages & human shields,” Erdan tweeted Tuesday.