July 8, 2024 | Flash Brief

UNRWA Headquarters Among Buildings Targeted in IDF Sweep of Terrorist Centers in Gaza City

July 8, 2024 | Flash Brief

UNRWA Headquarters Among Buildings Targeted in IDF Sweep of Terrorist Centers in Gaza City

Latest Developments

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a major raid against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) targets in several Gaza City districts on July 8. In what appeared to be one of the largest operations across the northern hub of the city during the nine-month-old war, Israeli tanks and infantrymen entered the eastern Daraj and Tuffah districts and the western Tel al-Hawa, Sabra, and Rimal districts. Dozens of Palestinian terrorists were killed or wounded in the ensuing clashes with the IDF. There was no immediate word of any Israeli casualties. The IDF instructed civilians to evacuate for their own safety, emphasizing that an exit route would be provided. The incursions targeted weapons, investigation and detention rooms, and Hamas and PIJ operatives. The IDF noted that the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the UN agency solely dedicated to the original Palestinian refugees of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence and their descendants — was among the buildings utilized by the terrorists. During a previous IDF operation in February 2023, the IDF discovered a Hamas computer server center underneath the UNRWA headquarters.

Expert Analysis

“Even as talks on a Gaza truce are rekindled, Israel is signaling that it retains freedom of action against efforts by Palestinian terrorists to regroup. Those innocent civilians displaced by the fighting might also reflect on whether having Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in their midst is worth the chaos that invariably follows. The UN may also reflect on whether terrorists using UNRWA headquarters is not a redline that it should consider enforcing.” —Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Unsurprisingly, UNRWA’s headquarters literally serves as Hamas’s headquarters. Any evidence the IDF collects of UNRWA’s material support to Hamas should be made public after this operation. It’s time for Washington to impose terrorism sanctions on UNRWA.” —Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Hamas Using UN Schools and Facilities Throughout Gaza

Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza have embedded themselves in UN schools, shelters, and institutions throughout the war in Gaza. On May 5, Israeli forces said they struck Hamas members who were using an UNRWA facility as a command center in central Gaza. On May 14, the IDF revealed that Hamas terrorists were using an UNRWA compound in Rafah as cover. The same day, the IDF carried out an airstrike on a Hamas weapons depot at an UNRWA school in Nuseirat. Two weeks later, on May 30, the IDF said Hamas had fired an anti-tank missile from inside an UNRWA school and that tunnels were found there. The IDF also targeted more than 20 terrorists using an UNRWA school in Nuseirat in early June.

Israel Targets Hamas and Islamic Jihad Terrorists Hiding in UNRWA School,” FDD Flash Brief

Gaza Terrorists Exploit Two More UNRWA Facilities,” FDD Flash Brief

IDF Discovers ‘There is Almost No Home Without a Tunnel’ in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

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