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July 22, 2014 2:10 pm

UNRWA Admits Finding More Rockets Hidden in Gaza School; Second Time in a Week

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Students at a UNRWA School in Gaza, in 2011. Photo: UN / Shareef Sarhan.

Students at a UNRWA School in Gaza, in 2011. Photo: UN / Shareef Sarhan.

In the second case in a week, the UN Agency responsible for Palestinians admitted that its staff had discovered rockets hidden in their schools in the Gaza Strip.

“Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday evening.

“As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons,” the organization said.

UNRWA said it “strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law,” but did not name any Palestinian entities, like Hamas, which rules the coastal enclave.

“The Agency immediately informed the relevant parties and is pursuing all possible measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school. UNRWA will launch a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident,” the agency said.

The statement is almost identical to one released after the last hidden rockets case, when the organization found 20 rockets in another Gaza educational facility on July 16th, in the midst of fighting in Operation Protective Edge.

A day later, Israel’s UN Ambassador said he was certain that more such facilities housed Hamas weaponry.

“Yesterday, UNRWA admitted that it mysteriously found 20 missiles in one of its schools,” Ambassador Ron Prosor said on Friday in an emergency Security Council session on Gaza.

“I’m sure that if UNRWA takes the time to check its other facilities, it will discover that this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Hamas is using UN facilities to commit a double war crime by targeting Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians.”

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