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Foreign Minister Baird condemns report of UN agency returning rockets to Hamas

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird responds to a question at a news conference Friday, May 2, 2014 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird responds to a question at a news conference Friday, May 2, 2014 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - Foreign Minister John Baird says he's "appalled" by a report that a UN agency turned over a stockpile of rockets found in a school building in Gaza to Hamas.

The UN Relief and Works Agency said today it had found rockets in a vacant school it runs in the Gaza Strip, and that it was pursuing measures to remove the weapons while starting an investigation.

Last week, the agency found another stockpile of rockets in a Gaza school it operates — and a report from Israel indicated it had turned over the weapons to "local authorities," suggesting they had been returned to Hamas.

Baird demanded the UN launch an "immediate independent investigation" to determine the facts in the two incidents.

The minister also called on the UN not to return the rockets in the second case to Hamas.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Israel's main airport today, wounding one Israeli and prompting airlines to suspend flights to Tel Aviv.

It was the latest blow to Israel on a day when it announced that an Israeli soldier went missing following a deadly battle in the Palestinian territory, where the Israelis are fighting Hamas militants in the third conflict in just over five years.

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