UNRWA, the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, has shifted its primary operations center and non-resident staff to the southern part of Gaza, aligning with Israel’s advisory for civilians to move in that direction.
The UN agency has issued a statement to Israel emphasizing the inviolability of UN educational institutions and shelters. “Under international humanitarian law, UN facilities, including schools and other shelters, must remain protected and never be targeted,” the agency asserted.
Currently, around 200,000 individuals are seeking refuge in 92 UNRWA-run schools, as reported by the UN.
Israel has previously accused Hamas of utilizing spaces around schools, hospitals, and residential structures for concealed weapons and infrastructure. Both tunnels and armaments have been discovered within UNRWA school premises.
Historical accounts include the unearthing of a tunnel beneath an UNRWA school during the 2021 conflict. Moreover, in the same year, the IDF identified a schoolyard containing 14 subterranean rocket launch sites, though it remains unclear if this school was under UNRWA’s jurisdiction. In the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, UNRWA schools were found to contain rockets on multiple occasions.