3:42 PM ET, February 10, 2024
Israel claims to have uncovered a Hamas tunnel under the headquarters of the United Nations agency in Gaza
By CNN's Pierre Millehan and Lauren Izzo
Israel claimed on Saturday to have uncovered a large Hamas tunnel hiding weapons under the headquarters of the United Nations relief agency in northern Gaza.
This alleged discovery was made as part of an Israeli military operation in the Al-Shati and Tal Al-Hawa areas in northern Gaza, according to the Israeli army.
The Israeli army claimed in a statement that its forces reached a tunnel opening located near a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). But she did not say when the discovery was made.
CNN has not independently verified Israel's claims.
The head of UNRWA issued a quick response: The organization's Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, said the agency does not know what is under its headquarters in Gaza, and that “the Israeli authorities did not officially inform UNRWA about the alleged tunnel,” so it is unable to address this claim further.
The United Nations agency carries out inspections inside its buildings every three months, and the last inspection carried out in its buildings in Gaza ended in September, according to Lazzarini.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called on Lazzarini to resign after recent allegations of a tunnel under UNRWA headquarters on Saturday. Lazzarini did not immediately respond.
The United States and at least 13 of its allies have withdrawn funding for the agency while investigators investigate the allegations. United Nations officials did Triggered the alarm Stopping the organization's funding jeopardizes its ability to provide life-saving aid in the Strip.
Gaza is home to A A sprawling tunnel network used by Hamas. The group claimed there were more than 300 miles of subterranean passages.
CNN's Nadine Ibrahim contributed to this report.
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