JERUSALEM (JTA) – The United Nations confirmed that Hamas stole seven tons of unexploded Israeli weapons stored in U.N. warehouses in Gaza.
The explosives, fired by Israel during its military operation in Gaza, were set to be destroyed by controlled detonation. The mostly unexploded tank shells were under Hamas guard when they were stolen, Ha’aretz reported Tuesday.
The theft was discovered earlier this week, but confirmed Tuesday by the United Nations and the Israel Defense Forces.
A U.N. Mines Action Team has been working to collect and dispose of the unexploded weapons since the operation ended in mid-January, according to the BBC. The team has been waiting for Israeli approval to bring equipment into Gaza to neutralize the weapons.
The weapons, which could easily be set off accidentally, are being stored near major population areas, Ha’aretz reported.