Israel says it has uncovered a Hamas tunnel network beneath the UN’s controversial Palestinian refugee agency headquarters in Gaza City – and that the secret system has siphoned electricity directly from the site.
Images uploaded to near an UNRWA school, according to the Israeli army.
Electrical equipment at the scene suggests the militants siphoned energy from the aid agency to power terror infrastructure, the IDF said.
The IDF said it had found similar power systems installed in tunnel networks running under hospitals in Gaza and stole electricity from the buildings.
UNRWA is currently under investigation after it emerged that at least 12 staff members took part in the brutal Hamas terrorist attack on October 7 that left more than 1,200 dead in Israel.
Israeli intelligence also claims that most of the employees of UNRWA, the sole aid agency for most of Gaza’s nearly two million refugees, have family members linked to the Palestinian terror group.
IDF Lieutenant Colonel Ido, whose surname was redacted by the military, told reporters during a tour of the tunnels on Thursday that it was clear the newly discovered network was powered by UNRWA.
“This is the electricity room, you can see all around it,” he said, pointing to the wires that would connect UNRWA headquarters to the tunnel. “The batteries, the electricity on the walls, everything is run from here, all the energy for the tunnels you walked through is fed from here.”
The Israeli army also said it had found several guns, ammunition, grenades and explosives in its headquarters.
Despite the claims, reporters during the tour said the Israeli military had not provided definitive evidence that Hamas terrorists were actively operating under UNRWA headquarters.
UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement that the aid agency had no knowledge of Hamas underground facilities, but noted that the findings merit an “independent investigation.”
Lazzarini added that the headquarters had been inspected in September and showed no signs of tampering by Hamas.
“UNRWA is a human development and humanitarian organization that does not have the military and security expertise nor the capacity to conduct military inspections of what is or could be under its buildings,” Lazzarini wrote about the allegations on X.
The UN official suggested that the alleged electrical connection between the tunnel and the base and the weapons found were likely new, as the agency has not revisited the headquarters since it was evacuated on October 12.
Lazzarini also noted that in the past when a Hamas tunnel or shaft was found near UNRWA premises, both the terror group and Israel were notified, with the information made public.
Given the UN group’s transparency on the tunnels, Lazzarini criticized Israel for allegedly not informing UNRWA about the new tunnel, while the organization only learned about it through media reports.
With Postal Wires