May 14, 2024 | Flash Brief

Gaza Terrorists Exploit Two More UNRWA Facilities

May 14, 2024 | Flash Brief

Gaza Terrorists Exploit Two More UNRWA Facilities

Latest Developments

Israel conducted a precise strike on a Hamas war room and weapons depot hidden inside of a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school located in Nuseirat in Gaza, Jerusalem announced on May 14. Israeli intelligence believes that Hamas recently used the war room to organize attacks against Israeli troops operating in central Gaza. Ten of the 15 terrorists eliminated in the strike were members of Hamas’s elite Nukhba Force who likely participated in Hamas’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.

The strike came as Israel released aerial surveillance video showing several armed Palestinians inside an UNRWA compound in the southern Gazan city of Rafah on May 11. Some can be seen milling next to vehicles with “UN” markings, and another can be seen placing an assault rifle in a car. The IDF said the events depicted took place in recent days, and that it also had footage of Palestinians firing from inside the compound, which is in eastern Rafah — site of clashes over the last week as troops and tanks mount incursions.

Israel has consistently accused the UN agency — which is charged with maintaining the welfare of Palestinians it classifies as refugees — of collaborating with Hamas, alleging that it employs active Hamas members and ignores Hamas’s use of its facilities. UNRWA does not recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Expert Analysis

“What is perhaps most remarkable — but by no means surprising — about this footage is the nonchalance with which the terrorists appear to conduct themselves in the UNRWA compound. They clearly feel at home. And why not? By now, it is abundantly clear that this supposedly neutral humanitarian agency has long served as an undeclared arm of both the Hamas government and armed wing, providing welfare and employment services as well as infrastructure and other material assistance for terrorism.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“UNRWA’s institutional rot is beyond repair, which is why it is time to scrap this failed agency and replace it with any number of turn-key alternatives that meet important humanitarian needs without subsidizing and supporting Hamas’s terror machine.” — Nick Stewart, Senior Director of Government Relations at FDD Action

“At some point, it has to become apparent to the naysayers that UN operations in Gaza are linked to Hamas. UN officials cannot feign ignorance. Israel, the United States, and other leading countries should not trust the UN to operate independently in the Gaza Strip.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Israeli Troops Exchange Fire With Terrorists on UNRWA Compound

Israeli forces identified and exchanged gunfire with numerous terrorists in an UNRWA logistical compound for aid distribution in eastern Rafah on May 11, according to the Israeli military. Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the government agency responsible for coordinating aid to Gaza, immediately relayed concerns to the UN and called for an investigation into the presence of terrorists near key humanitarian aid distribution routes. Israel also reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches Gazans.

Hamas’s Systemic Infiltration of UNRWA

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has said that Hamas is so integrated with UNRWA that “it is impossible to say where UNRWA ends and Hamas begins.” On May 5, the IDF destroyed a Hamas command center located in an UNRWA complex in central Gaza used to stage multiple attacks against Israeli troops. In February, IDF troops operating in Gaza City uncovered a Hamas data center underneath UNRWA headquarters.

Further, Israel now believes that at least 15 UNRWA employees, including educators and social workers, played a direct role in the October 7 atrocities. Some UNRWA employees are also military operatives with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and similar terrorist organizations. In March, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that 2,135 UNRWA employees were active in terrorist organizations.

Israel Strikes Hamas Command Center Under UNRWA Complex,” FDD Flash Brief

Turn-Key Alternatives to Replace UNRWA Immediately,” by Richard Goldberg and Bonnie Glick

Israel Calls UN Investigation into UNRWA ‘Insufficient,’” FDD Flash Brief

More Than 450 UNRWA Staff Are Terrorists, Israel Says,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

International Organizations Israel Israel at War