Israel blames hospital air strike on Islamic Jihad, but IDF credibility put into question

Hamas and Palestinian authorities blamed Israel for the hospital blast, but the IDF is blaming it on a rocket misfire by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari addressing a press conference on Wednesday
IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari addressing a press conference on Wednesday

Hundreds of Palestinians are feared dead after a blast in a Gaza hospital, but Israel is blaming the Palestinian Islamic Jihad for the incident.

Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), said on Wednesday that the damage sustained near the hospital suggests that the blast was not a result of an Israeli rocket.

“According to our intelligence, Hamas understood it was a Jihad rocket that misfired,” he told journalists during a press conference.

Hagari said that, at 6:59pm on Tuesday, 10 rockets were fired from a nearby cemetery by the Islamic jihad group. At the same time, there were reports of an explosion at the hospital.

He showed a diagram of the hospital, saying that Israeli munition would have caused a crater or structural damage to nearby buildings.

Hagari pointed to several reasons explaining why the IDF concluded it was an Islamic Jihad rocket that hit the hospital. There was no IDF fire from land, sea or air that hit the hospital, and the IDF’s radar system tracked rockets fired by terrorists within Gaza at the time of the explosion.

Moreover, Hagari said there was intelligence showing communication between militant groups about failed rocket launches.

At least 500 people are dead after a huge blast at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital. Hamas and Palestinian authorities blamed Israel for the air strike, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declaring three days of mourning following the blast.

Meanwhile, a memorial service will be held at al-Shifa hospital to pay tribute to the victims of the hospital blast.

Hagari's credibility called into question

Journalists at the press conference were quick to question the IDF's credibility on the matter, with one reporting noting how the ISraeli government had incorrectly blamed Palestinian militants for the death of a journalist. 

Hagari admitted that Israel was quick to jump to conclusions in the past, but insisted that the IDF wanted to 'take its time' to evaluate the blast and double check the facts.

Another journalist from the BBC also questioned whether they other countries will believe Israel's claims. Hagari said countries in the Middle East will be "watching the BBC carefully" and said he hopes the broadcaster will share this investigation.

Jordan cancels summit with US, Egypt after hospital air strike

Arab leaders have pulled out of a four-way summit with US President Joe Biden after news of the blast on Tuesday.

A summit was set to be held in Jordan between Arab leaders and Biden on Wednesday, but Abbas pulled out following the attack on Tuesday night.

Later that night, Jordan’s foreign minister said the meeting could only take place when the parties agree to end the war and the “massacres against Palestinians”.