Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:44 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

Rockets found at UN Gaza school went missing

The U.N. secretary-general on Wednesday said he was "alarmed" to hear that rockets were placed in a U.N.-run school in Gaza and now "have gone missing," and he demanded a full review of such incidents.


Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
The U.N. secretary-general was 'shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in...' I mean alarmed to hear that rockets... MORE
The LTTE in Sri Lanka used the UN cover so often that many Sri Lankan still consider the UN to have been the allies of... MORE
No wonder we have various rag-tag weirdos shooting down passenger jets with this level of security. No telling how many... MORE

advertising

UNITED NATIONS —

The U.N. secretary-general on Wednesday said he was "alarmed" to hear that rockets were placed in a U.N.-run school in Gaza and now "have gone missing," and he demanded a full review of such incidents.

A statement by the spokesman for Ban Ki-moon expressed the U.N. chief's "outrage and regret" at the placement of weapons at a site run by the global organization. The U.N. says that has happened at least twice so far in the current fighting.

"Those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children," U.N. staff and anyone seeking shelter, the statement said.

The rockets had been placed at one of the schools run by the U.N. refugee agency for Palestinians, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza.

Once they were found, "in accordance with standard practice, UNRWA handed them over to the local authorities. Since then, they have gone missing," Ban's deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, said in an e-mail Wednesday evening.

The Islamic militant group Hamas controls Gaza. The U.S., Israel and the European Union all consider Hamas a terrorist organization, but the U.N. does not.

A week ago, UNRWA said that during a routine check it discovered about 20 rockets hidden in one of its vacant Gaza schools and called on militants to respect the "sanctity and integrity" of U.N. property. It said the incident was "the first of its kind in Gaza."

On Tuesday, UNRWA reported a second incident, saying it found rockets hidden at a vacant school during a regular inspection. "UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets," its statement said. "The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons."

The statement said UNRWA was looking at all possible ways to safely remove the rockets and would investigate the incident.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement late Wednesday that he was appalled to hear reports of the stockpiling of rockets in U.N. facilities. He called on the U.N. to launch an immediate independent investigation.

"Even more alarming were reports that in the first case, officials with the United Nations returned these weapons to Hamas, a listed terrorist organization, once Israeli officials discovered their location," he said.

The U.N. statement Wednesday said Ban has asked for the immediate development of a plan to safely handle any weapons found on U.N. premises, and he told the U.N. Mine Action Service to immediately send people to deal with the situation of the missing rockets.

"The United Nations is taking concerted action to increase its vigilance in preventing such episodes from happening again," the statement said.

The statement also demanded that militant groups stop such actions and be held accountable for endangering civilians.

UNRWA tweeted Monday that more than 83,000 people were now taking refuge in its schools in Gaza, and the "numbers are growing."



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►