During Operation Protective Edge, UNRWA announced that 20 rockets were discovered hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. On July 22, UNRWA issued a statement regarding a second case in which a UN school in Gaza was exploited by terrorists to hide rockets.

 Hamas uses Gaza schools for military-terrorist purposes

 

Copyright: IDF Spokesperson

(Source: ITIC)

During Operation Protective Edge, UNRWA announced in a press release that on July 16, 2014, 20 rockets were discovered hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip (the name and location of the school were not mentioned). Immediately after the rockets were found UNRWA reported the incident to "the relevant parties" (no specifics given) and "took all necessary measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school."

UNRWA, according to the press release, "strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations." Calling the incident "the first of its kind in Gaza," UNRWA said it "endangered civilians including staff put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestine refugees in Gaza." UNRWA said it had "launched a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident."

 Hamas uses Gaza schools for military-terrorist purposes

UNRWA condemnation of rockets hidden in one of its schools in the Gaza Strip (July 17, 2014)

On July 22, UNRWA issued a statement regarding a second case in which a UN school in Gaza was exploited by terrorists to hide rockets. Although the school was vacant, it was located between two other schools which currently house 3,000 Palestinians.

On July 23, the Spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued the following statement:

"The Secretary-General is alarmed to hear that rockets were placed in an UNRWA school in Gaza and that subsequently these have gone missing. He expresses his outrage, and regret, at the placing of weapons in a UN-administered school. By doing so, those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children, UN employees working in such facilities, and anyone using the UN schools as shelter.

The Secretary-General notes that this is inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009), which calls for the prevention of arms smuggling. He demands that militants groups, who are responsible must stop such actions and should be held accountable for endangering the lives of civilians in this manner. 

The Secretary-General has asked for a full review of such incidents and how the UN responds in such instances. The United Nations is taking concerted action to increase its vigilance in preventing such episodes from happening again. To this end, the Secretary-General has directed the UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS) and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to immediately develop and implement an effective security plan for the safe and secure handling of any weapons discovered in UN premises…"