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UNRWA deletes tweets that revealed its fuel, medical equipment were taken

The U.N. body said the items were taken by "a group of people with trucks purporting to be from the Ministry of Health of the de facto authorities in Gaza." Israel identified Hamas as the looter.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah, the southern Gaza Strip, July 26, 2018. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah, the southern Gaza Strip, July 26, 2018. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East stated on Monday in since-deleted social media postings that equipment had been taken from its facility in Gaza, where security cameras covering the entrance and exit “were damaged further to blasts from the conflict in previous days and ceased to operate.”

UNRWA “received reports that yesterday a group of people with trucks purporting to be from the Ministry of Health of the de facto authorities in Gaza removed fuel and medical equipment from the agency’s compound in Gaza City,” it stated. (The since deleted posts can be seen on the nonprofit Internet Archive.)

“Our staff were compelled to evacuate UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City on a few hours’ notice during the night of Friday, Oct. 13,” it added. “Since then, UNRWA has had no access to the compound and no additional details about the removal of the assets. UNRWA fuel and other types of material are kept for strictly humanitarian purposes—any other use is strongly condemned.”

UNRWA didn’t mention Hamas by name, but an official Israeli Foreign Ministry social media account stated that “Even UNRWA is now saying that Hamas terrorists in Gaza are stealing emergency supplies and gas which are needed to help Gazan civilians.”

“Or in other words,” wrote Israel Katz, the Israeli energy and infrastructure minister, “Hamas is robbing the ‘humanitarian aid’ to the Palestinian people. There’s no reason to give them anything until we eliminate Nazi Hamas.”

“Every conflict, UNRWA shrieks about damage caused to its facilities, clearly trying to imply Israel is at fault. Every conflict, UNRWA is then forced to acknowledge Hamas and other terrorists use its facilities,” wrote David Litman, a senior analyst at the media watchdog CAMERA.

Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department allocated more than $220 million for UNRWA, despite materials that glorify terrorism and antisemitism in schools associated with the U.N. body. Antisemitic UNRWA educational materials were also singled out in of U.S. legislation recently in House and Senate appropriations bills.

In December 2022, the construction of a Hamas terrorist tunnel caused the collapse of the ground beneath an UNRWA school. The agency said in a statement that after “recently” identifying the cavity, it had protested strongly to the relevant authorities in Gaza to “express outrage and condemnation.”

Hamas also had set up a rocket launch facility near the Khalil Al Nobani school in Gaza City’s Zeitoun area, it was revealed at the time. The school is a public building meant to be a safe place for children in Gaza.

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