Hamas stole tons of explosives, weapons and unexploded bombs that it was guarding for the United Nations, which gathered the ordnance during Operation Cast Lead. The Hamas guard has disappeared along with the bombs and explosives.
The discovery of missing weapons, first revealed by British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC), is the latest in a number of embarrassing episodes for the U.N. and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner charged Hamas with "commandeering" the bombs, explosives and artillery shells.
Israel previously has proven that Hamas has used U.N. facilities to attack Israeli civilians and soldiers, and the terrorist organization has routinely stolen humanitarian aid delivered to U.N. groups.
"We are anxious to get the return of this ordnance," U.N. Jerusalem spokesman Richard Miron told the BBC. "It's clearly extremely dangerous and needs to be disposed of in a safe manner.
The U.N. has been trying to remove and neutralize the explosives but has charged Israel with delaying the work by not permitting entry of equipment and not approving an area for detonation.
However, Israel two weeks ago approved a storage site near Gaza City for three one-ton bombs and eight smaller ones which did not explode after being dropped by Israeli planes. U.N. officials stored the bombs along with several large artillery shells in the warehouse and discovered on Sunday that the weapons were missing.
Several bombs that the U.N. collected have been drowned in water and then buried in Gaza's sand.