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Ban "outraged" at Gaza militants using UNRWA school to hide rockets

NEW YORK, July 23 (KUNA) -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "alarmed and outraged" to hear that rockets were placed in an UNRWA school in Gaza last week, endangering civilian lives, his press office said in a statement on Wednesday.
Ban is on a peace mission in the Middle East trying to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, which witnessed 14 days of Israeli aggression. He met with Israeli officials earlier today.
Ban expressed "outrage, and regret, at the placing of weapons in a UN-administered school. By doing so, those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets," thus endangering the lives of innocent children, UN employees, and anyone using the UN schools as shelter.
Ban also "calls on all of those who have any influence over militant groups to send an unmistakable message that this is unacceptable," and expressed his full support for the "tremendous work" by UNRWA staff, who continue to operate under deeply challenging circumstances, the statement noted.
Ban noted that hiding the rockets, which later went missing, is inconsistent with Security Council Resolution 1860 of 2009, which called for the prevention of arms smuggling, and demanded that militants groups stop such actions and be held accountable for endangering the lives of civilians in this manner.
He asked for a "full review" of such incidents and how the UN responds in such instances, the statement said, adding that the UN is taking "concerted action to increase its vigilance in preventing such episodes from happening again." On this occasion, Ban directed the UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS) and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to immediately develop and implement an effective security plan for the safe and secure handling of any weapons discovered in UN premises, and to immediately deploy personnel with expertise to deal with this situation. (end) sj.hb