ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

search

‘We did not know’: UNRWA head says agency knew nothing about Hamas data center directly under its Gaza City HQ

The commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the UNRWA headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, December 6, 2023. (AP/Bilal Hussein)
The commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the UNRWA headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, December 6, 2023. (AP/Bilal Hussein)

UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini denies any knowledge of the Hamas data center found by Israeli troops underneath the agency’s headquarters in Gaza.

In a tweet shortly after tonight’s publication of the findings, Lazzarini says 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 says Israel has “not informed UNRWA officially about the alleged tunnel.”

The subterranean data center, seen by The Times of Israel’s military correspondent on Thursday, included an electricity room, industrial battery power banks, and living quarters for Hamas terrorists operating the computer servers.

Lazzarini says UN staff left the Gaza headquarters on October 12, five days after Hamas launched its October 7 killing spree across southern Israel, as the Israeli military campaign in Gaza began ramping up.

“We have not used that compound since we left it nor are we aware of any activity that may have taken place there,” he claims.

UNRWA, he says, “is a human development and humanitarian organization 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.”

He says any previous “suspicious” activity was promptly dealt with and “consistently reported in annual reports presented to the General Assembly and made public.”

UNWRA has come under increased scrutiny and calls for its disbanding have grown following findings by Israel last month that accused 12 staff members of taking part in the October 7 massacre by Hamas-led terrorists, who killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages.

Since the allegations became public, UNRWA has seen many of its top donor countries announce funding freezes, leading to concerns that the agency could stop operating in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East within weeks.

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.