UNRWA moves south, tells Israel schools can’t be touched

UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, says it has moved its main operations center and non-local staff in Gaza south as Israel warns civilians to evacuate in that direction.

The agency warns Israel that it must protect civilians in UN schools and shelters.

“These UN schools and all other UN shelters are UN facilities. They must be protected at all times and must never come under attack in accordance with international humanitarian law,” it says.

Over 200,000 people are sheltering in 92 UNRWA schools, according to the UN.

Israel has long charged Hamas with hiding weapons and infrastructure in tunnels around schools, hospitals and residential buildings, and tunnels and weapons have been found at UNRWA schools.

During the fighting in 2021 between Israel and Gaza terrorists, a tunnel was found underneath an UNRWA school. The IDF also determined that the courtyard of at least one Gaza school — it was not clear if it belonged to UNRWA — housed 14 underground rocket launchpads, which it said were used during the fighting.

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, rockets were found in UNRWA schools on several occasions.

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