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Unexploded bombs gone missing in Gaza: UN

world Updated: Feb 18, 2009 15:42 IST

AFP
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UN officials said on Wednesday that several large, unexploded Israeli bombs left over from last month's war in the Gaza Strip have gone missing in the Hamas-ruled territory.

"A number of aerial bombs and other materiel retrieved in Gaza were being held in a collection area at a traffic police compound in Gaza City," a UN official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "This has disappeared."

The missing munitions include three 2,000-pound (900 kilogram) bombs and eight 500-pound (230 kilogram) bombs dropped by Israeli warplanes during the 22-day offensive that killed over 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

"We are anxious to return this ordnance. It's dangerous materiel and needs to be disposed of in a safe manner," UN spokesman Richard Miron said.

The UN said it did not know who had taken the bombs and did not accuse the Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza of being involved in the incident.

Israel launched the offensive -- the largest it has ever carried out against the Palestinian territory -- on December 27 in what it said was a bid to halt the firing of crude, homemade rockets on Israeli communities near the border.

The conflict came to a halt on January 18 when Israel and Hamas declared separate ceasefires, but the calm has been strained since then by dozens of rocket attacks and several deadly Israeli air strikes on the territory.