Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson
A Hamas tunnel underneath a Rafah health clinic where three Israeli soldiers were killed on May 28, 2024.

A booby-trapped tunnel where three soldiers were killed was underneath a Rafah medical clinic, the Israel Defense Forces said on Thursday. The IDF added that the complex also housed a UNRWA school where tunnel shafts and weapons were found.

The IDF said troops raided the UN Relief and Works Agency school after Hamas terrorists inside the building fired anti-tank rockets. The complex where the school is located also houses a health clinic and mosque.

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The booby-trapped tunnel was discovered under the clinic and blew up, killing three soldiers and injuring four more.

The fallen soldiers were identified as 20-year-old Staff Sgt. Amir Galilove, from the northern town of Shimshit, 21-year-old Staff Sgt. Uri Bar-Or from Midreshet Ben-Gurion in the Negev, and 21-year-old Staff Sgt. Ido Appel from Moshav Tzofar, in the Arava region south of the Dead Sea. All three served in a rifle company of the Nahal Brigade.

 

From left, Sgt. Uri Bar Or, Staff Sgt. Ido Appel, and Staff Sgt. Amir Galilove, killed in booby-trapped building in Rafah on May 28, 2024.

Inside the UNRWA school, soldiers discovered tunnel shafts, uniforms and weapons, including large numbers of grenades.

The UNRWA is under fire amid revelations that its staffers participated in Hamas’s October 7 attacks. Israeli officials demand that the agency be stripped of its authority in Gaza and defunded.

On Wednesday, the Knesset approved the first reading of legislation authorizing the Foreign Ministry to designate UNRWA as a terror organization and strip it of its diplomatic immunity, tax-exempt status, and other legal benefits.

Also on Wednesday, the Israel Lands Authority ordered UNRWA to vacate its Jerusalem offices over violations of its lease.

Israel’s largest bank froze UNRWA’s account in February over suspicious financial transfers that the agency failed to adequately explain. Israeli forces discovered a Hamas complex located directly under the UNRWA’s Gaza City headquarters. Computer servers belonging to Hamas were directly connected to UNRWA’s electricity system.

Soldiers have found weapons stored in UNRWA facilities on multiple occasions.

Palestinian refugees are the only refugee population with its own dedicated UN agency. The rest of the world’s refugees fall under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Israeli officials have called for UNRWA to be closed and for Palestinian refugees to be brought under the responsibility of the UNHCR.

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 125 remaining hostages, 39 are believed dead.

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