The United Nations Relief and Works Agency found 20 rockets in an empty Gazan school on July 15, according to The Guardian.
The agency released a statement on July 17 condemning those responsible for storing the rockets in the school.
“This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law,” the UNRWA said. “This incident, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestine refugees in Gaza.”
Steps were taken to remove the rockets, and the UNRWA is investigating the matter.
The UNRWA’s discovery comes amid Israeli claims that Palestinian terrorist groups use civilian areas to store and launch rockets. These are claims that the UNRWA has always denied, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“Yet again, Gaza terrorists abuse UN facilities to carry out their violent activities. Hamas and other terror groups are determined to put civilians in harm’s way and will respect nothing in their violent frenzy,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel.
A Western diplomat also told the Post that the finding of these rockets likely saved Israeli lives.
“This is a very important development as far as Israelis are concerned,” the diplomat said. “UNRWA’s neutrality procedures kicked in and as a result of this discovery by UNRWA staff, the Agency has prevented 20 rockets being fired at civilians in Israel. Lives in Israel may well have been saved at a time when so many Israelis feel under threat.”