The Palestinian Hamas terror group claims that an Israeli airstrike hit Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday, killing 500, but Israel says that Hamas is to blame after a rocket, aimed at Israeli civilians, misfired and hit the Palestinian facility instead.
Update: The Times of Israel reports: “Israel Defense Forces says that based on ‘intelligence information, a failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rocket caused the deadly blast at the Gaza hospital.’”
Palestinians say the Israelis hit a hospital in Gaza where hundreds were sheltering. Source says there is a mass casualty situation. We’re gathering details now.
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) October 17, 2023
מתחקור ראשוני בצהל: הפיצוץ בביהח בעזה לא מתקיפת כוחותינו.
— הלל ביטון רוזן | Hallel Bitton Rosen (@BittonRosen) October 17, 2023
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says that is still investigating, though Israel’s Channel 14 correspondent, Hallen Rosen, reported: “From a preliminary investigation in the army: the explosion in the hospital in Gaza is not from an attack [by] our forces.”
The Times of Israel reported:
“A hospital is a highly sensitive building and is not an IDF target. The IDF is investigating the source of the explosion and, like always, is prioritizing accuracy and reliability,” the army tells Fox News.
Talya Lankri, a senior reserves officer and the former deputy head of the National Security Council, also states on Channel 12 news that “the IDF does not hit hospitals. That is not a target.”
She says, therefore, that she believes that the IDF investigation into the incident “will either show some kind of technical malfunction or a failed launch of some kind or another from within Gaza.”
Palestinian terrorists frequently bombard their own people through misfires. In the last conflict with Hamas, in 2021, some 20% of Hamas rockets fell in the Gaza Strip, not inside Israel. In May 2022 clashes with Islamic Jihad — which, like Hamas, is backed by Iran — one-third of Palestinian casualties were reportedly caused by misfired rockets.
The Jerusalem Post noted:
Hamas and other Palestinian factions fire rockets from within residential areas in the Gaza Strip, with rocket storagehouses often placed inside or near hospitals, schools, and mosques. Rockets launched by the factions often fall short and hit buildings in Gaza, with multiple deaths reported in such incidents in past rounds of conflict. During Operation Breaking Dawn in August 2022, two people were killed after a rocket fired from Gaza fell next to a clinic.
There are reports of a large Hamas rocket barrage at the time the hospital was hit, and videos purporting to show a misfired rocket hitting the hospital (which Breitbart News cannot confirm).
Israel does not target hospitals, and has not targeted hospitals in previous conflicts even when it has known that Hamas was keeping its leaders, or its weapons, inside or underneath hospital buildings.
It is possible, according to Israeli sources, that the explosion was particularly large because of munitions stored near the hospital.
Egypt blamed Israel for hitting the hospital, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared a national day of mourning.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.