Gaza hospital blast: Israel shares drone footage of before and after Islamic Jihad's rocket misfire (WATCH)
"A failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization hit the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza City. IAF footage from the area around the hospital before and after the failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization," wrote Israel Defense Forces along with the video on X.
Amid escalating tensions in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, a tragic incident unfolded when an explosion occurred at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City. The incident initially led to allegations that Israel was responsible for the blast, with conflicting reports regarding the number of casualties. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) promptly denied involvement in the incident, stating that a misfired rocket launched by Gaza-based terrorists, specifically the Islamic Jihad, had caused the explosion.
The IDF spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, pointed to evidence suggesting that a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza passed in close proximity to the hospital when the incident occurred. In a brief video circulated in English, IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said "an analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit." "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," he added.
Meanwhile, the IDF shared a a video from HA systems that records the hospital area before and after the failed launch. "A failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization hit the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza City. IAF footage from the area around the hospital before and after the failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization," it wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
Global Reaction and Accusations
Despite Israel's denial, the hospital explosion triggered a wave of international condemnation. Palestinians and numerous Arab nations, including Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and others, initially pointed the finger at Israel, claiming that the medical facility had been targeted and that hundreds of lives were lost.
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza initially reported a death toll of at least 500 people, but this figure was later amended to between 200 and 300. The incident was widely decried as a war crime, both by Hamas and the World Health Organization.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog vehemently rejected the accusations and expressed their condolences to the victims of the incident. Netanyahu issued a statement in which he said, “So the whole world knows: The barbaric terrorists in Gaza are the ones who attacked the Gaza hospital, not the IDF. Those who cruelly murdered our children, murder their children as well.”
President Isaac Herzog called accusations that Israel had struck the hospital 'a blood libel'. "An Islamic Jihad missile has killed many Palestinians at a Gazan hospital — a place where lives should be saved," Herzog tweeted.
"Shame on the media who swallow the lies of Hamas and Islamic Jihad — broadcasting a 21st-century blood libel around the globe. Shame on the vile terrorists in Gaza who willfully spill the blood of the innocent," he added.
The hospital explosion comes against the backdrop of a conflict that has been ongoing since October 7, triggered by a significant attack by Hamas. The conflict has resulted in considerable loss of life and property damage, with Israeli towns and cities targeted by rockets and the border region witnessing a significant infiltration by Hamas militants. The situation remains highly volatile and has garnered international attention.
A Day of Mourning and Canceled Summit
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning in response to the hospital explosion, and protests erupted in the West Bank, with demonstrators expressing their frustration with the situation. Jordan initially announced a summit with US President Joe Biden and leaders from Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, but it was later canceled in light of the mourning period declared by President Abbas.
The international community's response has been mixed, with various nations expressing concern over the incident and calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Israel continues to emphasize that it does not target hospitals and that it was not operating in the vicinity when the explosion occurred.