UNRWA school in Gaza
UNRWA school in GazaMiriam Alster/Flash 90

The Hamas terror organization has prevented a staff of United Nations (UN) experts from operating in the area of a tunnel shaft exposed over two months ago beneath an UNRWA school in the Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza, Kan 11 reported Tuesday.

According to the report, Hamas removed the UN personnel from the scene.

Arab news sources told Kan News that a UN staff from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) had arrived at the school a few days ago, as per UNRWA's request, in order to ensure that there were no explosives in the area and that it was safe to start the school year at that school. Meanwhile, a tunnel is believed to run beneath the school.

Upon learning that UNMAS was visiting the school, the Hamas police force immediately arrived at the scene and requested that the experts immediately vacate the premises. Following their exit, Hamas closed off the site.

As a result, the staff was forced to cancel its plans to examine a different UNRWA school in Rafah, where there are suspicions that a tunnel is being dug near the school. Following the incident, UNRWA sources told the Hamas government that the school year at the two schools, in Zaitoun and Rafah, will not be able to start next week, until both sites are taken care of by UN experts.

The two campuses serve some 4,000 Gazan children.

The tunnel beneath the Zaitoun school was exposed after a pit opened up in the school's yard after a rocket or shrapnel fell there during an IDF attack, seemingly during the first week of May 2021's Operation Guardian of the Walls. The tunnel shaft was found to be located approximately seven meters (22.9 feet) beneath the school's yard. .