Israel denies Gaza hospital bombing, blames botched rocket attack by Islamic jihadists

Bodies of Palestinians killed by an explosion at the Ahli Arab hospital are gathered in the front yard of the al-Shifa hospital, in Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Israel has denied its military was responsible for an air strike on a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday evening which left hundreds dead, announcing that its intelligence suggests a failed rocket offensive by jihadists was behind the attack.

At least 200 people were killed in an explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry. This figure was corroborated by the Palestine Red Crescent, a humanitarian organization.

The death toll is expected to rise with many individuals unaccounted for and dozens more transferred to Gaza City’s main Dar Al Shifa Hospital.

Hamas described the attack as a “horrific massacre carried out by the Zionist occupation” and called it a “crime of genocide that once again reveals the ugly face of this criminal enemy and its fascist and terrorist government.”

Hamas itself is a proscribed terrorist organization in the European Union, the U.S., and the U.K., and was responsible for the terror attack on Israeli territory which preceded the most recent Israeli air strikes in Gaza and killed more than 1,300 Israeli civilians.

On Tuesday evening, the Israeli government vehemently denied its involvement in the hospital explosion.

“The whole world should know: the barbaric terrorists in Gaza are the ones who attacked the hospital in Gaza, not the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF),” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The IDF later explained that its intelligence suggested a botched rocket launch by Islamic extremists against Israel had caused the blast.

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“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” an IDF spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

“Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza,” they added.

The conflict in the disputed territory has escalated dramatically this month after Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel resulted in the most formidable retaliation by the Israeli military.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been displaced, with the IDF issuing evacuation orders ahead of an expected ground invasion in order to wipe out the Islamic extremists on Israel’s doorstep.

Around 200 Israeli women and children were captured by the Hamas terror organization during the Israeli raid and are being held as hostages with Hamas leaders demanding the release of more than 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for their return.

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