Israel is determined to portray the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza as a facilitator of terrorism in any way they can. Bursting into the Israeli media today was the discovery by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of what it called a Hamas data center in a tunnel that happened to be underneath the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City. “The subterranean data center—complete with an electrical room, industrial battery power banks and living quarters for Hamas terrorists operating the computer servers—was built precisely under the location where Israel would not consider looking initially, let alone target in an airstrike,” reported the Times of Israel, whose reporter was given a tour of the facility by the IDF.
The IDF claimed that the UNRWA was fully aware of the data center, even though some 20 meters underground, and that it helped facilitate its construction. “There is no doubt that UNRWA staff knew that [Hamas] was digging a massive tunnel beneath them,” IDF Col. Benny Aharon claimed. “There’s a perimeter wall, a gate, cameras, at the gate they log who comes in and out. Whoever worked at UNRWA knew very well who was coming in, and who they were covering for.”
UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini, in an X posting, today, denied any knowledge of the existence of the tunnel. Lazzarini said UNRWA “did not know what is under its headquarters in Gaza” and that the reports “merit an independent inquiry that is currently not possible to undertake given Gaza is an active war zone.” He said Israel has “not informed UNRWA officially about the alleged tunnel.”
“We have not used that compound since we left it nor are we aware of any activity that may have taken place there,” he said further. He stated: “UNRWA is a Human development and humanitarian organisation that does not have the military and security expertise nor the capacity to undertake military inspections of what is or might be under its premises.”