Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), issued a statement June 9 announcing that UNRWA had discovered a tunnel June 1, allegedly dug by Hamas, under two of its affiliated schools, the Maghazi Elementary Boys A&B School and the Maghazi Preparatory Boys School. The discovery was made during work to expand a building belonging to one of the schools, which are in the Maghazi refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip. “UNRWA condemns the existence of such tunnels in the strongest possible terms,” Gunness said. “It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way.”
Gunness called the digging of tunnels under UN facilities “incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under international law, which provides that UN premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times.” He noted that UNRWA had protested to Hamas and would be sealing the tunnels and would not allow anyone into the building until resolution of the issue.