Tunnel complex with rows of computer servers discovered under UN aid agency HQ in Gaza, reports say
- The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it discovered a Hamas complex under a UN agency HQ in Gaza.
- The IDF claimed its soldiers found "electrical infrastructure" in a tunnel under the building.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it discovered a Hamas complex under a UN aid agency's headquarters in Gaza.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the IDF said its soldiers had found the entrance to a tunnel near a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
It claims that this was connected to a tunnel underneath the agency's main HQ in Gaza City, where its forces came across "electrical infrastructure" with rows of computer servers that it said were using power from the UNRWA's building.
The IDF invited journalists from outlets, including The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), to view the site earlier this week.
The visit showed that at least part of the tunnel did run underneath the HQ's courtyard. However, it did not provide definitive proof that Hamas militants had carried out operations in the tunnel, The Associated Press reported.
The WSJ report published a photo of a room containing eight black server racks "inside what Israeli military officials say is a Hamas intelligence hub."
Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, has constructed a military network of more than 310 miles of tunnels beneath the enclave - roughly equivalent to half the length of the New York subway system, Reuters reported in December.
The Israeli military has nicknamed the subterranean world "the Gaza metro."
Directly beneath UNRWA’s Gaza headquarters, IDF uncovers top secret Hamas data center https://t.co/9NLPzXEpp0— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) February 10, 2024
The UNRWA said in a statement that the reports "merit an independent inquiry," adding that it did "not have the military and security expertise nor the capacity to undertake military inspections of what is or might be under its premises," per the Journal.
It comes after the agency faced accusations that several staff members had been linked to Hamas' October 7 attacks on Israel, which left around 1,200 people dead.
A statement on the agency's website says that UN Secretary-General António Guterres was "horrified" by the "extremely serious allegations," which it said had implicated 12 members of staff.
It said it had already taken action against those 12, identifying and terminating the contracts of 10 of them while adding that the other two were dead.
It adds that "any UN employee involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution."
The UNRWA plays a key role in facilitating the delivery of international aid to Gazans while also helping provide services such as housing and schooling.
Israel's attacks on Gaza have caused a humanitarian crisis in the territory, leading to the "highest share of a population facing high food insecurity that has ever been classified," the British Red Cross said in a report.
Around 75% of the Gaza Strip's population of roughly 2.2 million have also been displaced, the report adds.
International warnings are building ahead of Israel's planned offensive against Rafah, one of the last refuges for Gazans fleeing the conflict.
Business Insider contacted the UNRWA for comment.
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