Who Fired The Missile That Killed 500 Palestinians In The Al-Ahli Al-Mahdi Hospital In Gaza?

Who Fired The Missile That Killed 500 Palestinians In The Al-Ahli Al-Mahdi Hospital In Gaza?

On Tuesday evening, a massive blast rocked a hospital in Gaza City, killing more than 500 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-led Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Priyanka ChandaniUpdated: Wednesday, October 18, 2023, 08:20 PM IST
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Israel-Hamas War | File Image

On Tuesday evening, a massive blast rocked a hospital in Gaza City, killing more than 500 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-led Palestinian Ministry of Health. Hamas blamed an Israeli airstrike, while Israel claimed a rocket misfired by Palestinian militants killed hundreds of wounded and other locals taking shelter. IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagri confirmed that the rocket hitting the Al-Ahli Al-Mahdi hospital in Gaza was launched by Islamic Jihad. 

“I can confirm that an analysis of the IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al-Ahli Al-Mahdi hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” said Rear Admiral Hagri. 

He also added that intelligence from a few sources that the IDF has in its hands indicates “that the Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch that hit the hospital in Gaza. I repeat, this is the responsibility of Islamic jihad, which killed innocents in the hospital in Gaza."

The IDF has concluded an After Action Review and can confirm that the Islamic Jihad was responsible for the strike on the hospital in Gaza City.

According to the IDF, at 6:15 pm, a barrage of rockets was fired by Hamas at Israel. At 6:59 pm a barrage of around 10 rockets was fired by Islamic Jihad from a nearby cemetery. It was at 6:59 pm when there were reports of an explosion at the hospital in Gaza City.

IDF spokesperson clarifies 'lies spread by Hamas'

“According to our intelligence, Hamas checked the reports, understood it was an Islamic Jihad rocket that had misfired, and decided to launch a global media campaign to hide what really happened. They went as far as inflating the number of casualties. They understood, with absolute certainty, that it was a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad — that damaged the hospital.  Analysis of our aerial footage confirms that there was no direct hit to the hospital itself. The only location damaged is outside the hospital in the parking lot, where we can see signs of burning, no cratering, and no structural damage to nearby buildings,” said an IDF spokesperson. 

Clarifying further, he said, as opposed to the damage caused by any aerial munition, which would have been of a different nature, “We would have seen craters and structural damage to buildings,both of which haven’t been identified in this incident. The size of the damage we see here is due to the warhead of the Islamic Jihad rocket, but most of the rockets' propellent is still evident due to the short flight of the rocket (because the launch failed).”

IDF's immediate examination

Many media outlets immediately reported the unverified claims by Hamas. “Those were lies spread by Hamas. I want to make something clear: It is impossible to know what happened as quickly as Hamas claimed they knew. That should have been an initial warning sign for many. Unlike Hamas, the IDF launched an immediate examination, which was overseen at the very highest levels of command,” said Rear Admiral Hagri. 

This professional review was based on intelligence, operational systems, and aerial footage, all of which the IDF claims have been cross-checked.

The evidence confirms that the explosion at the hospital in Gaza was caused by an Islamic Jihad rocket that misfired. And the four main parts of the IDF’s examination process include that there was no IDF fire—by land, sea, or air—that hit the hospital.

IDF’s radar systems tracked rockets fired by terrorists from within Gaza at the time of the explosion. “The trajectory analysis from the barrage of rockets confirms that the rockets were fired in close proximity to the hospital.”

Videos of the failed rocket launch

In addition, there are two independent videos that show the failure of the rocket launch and the continuation of the rocket flight towards the ground within the Gaza strip—falling into the hospital compound.

“We have intelligence, which has communication between terrorists talking about the rocket misfiring. The terrorists realised that a rocket had misfired and made specific reference to the hospital. We have cross-checked this intercept with other intelligence sources to confirm its accuracy,” said the spokesperson. 

“It is common for rockets that are fired at Israel, to land short and fall inside Gaza. These rockets fall short of Israel and have caused Palestinian casualties. During this war, we have counted approximately 450 rockets that misfired and fell inside Gaza. Palestinian civilians pay the price,” he clarified. 

Rage across the region and Biden's visit to Israel

After the hospital carnage, a rage spread through the region, and with United States President Joe Biden visiting the Mideast in hopes of stopping the war from escalating longer, the Jordan foreign minister said that they canceled a regional summit scheduled for Wednesday in Amman, where Biden was to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

However, according to a White House official, Biden will now visit only Israel.

The explosion at the Al -Ahili Hospital left painful scenes. Videos shared by a foreign media outlet showed fire engulfing the building, and the hospital grounds were filled with torn bodies, blankets, and school bags, indicating that many children were among the victims.

In addition, the US tried to convince Israel to allow the delivery of supplies to desperate civilians in hospitals in Gaza City. Water and daily supplies have been under siege since Hamas’ deadly attack on October 7, killing more than 1,400 civilians in a day and keeping more than 200 as hostages.

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