Israel’s Defence Forces have released a video they claim shows how a misfiring Gaza rocket was responsible for the devastation of a Palestinian hospital which killed hundreds of people overnight.
The clip was released amid a torrent of fury from the Arab world and Israel’s foes, with Iran declaring last night that ‘time is up’ and Tehran-backed terror group Hezbollah calling for a ‘day of rage’.
In the clip, a rocket purportedly streaking towards Israel from Gaza appears to suffer a problem and suddenly changes course before flaming out.
In the darkness, it is not clear whether the rocket broke apart or simply lost its trajectory.
But moments later, a pair of explosions erupt in the city below – the result of what Israel claims was the rocket falling back to Earth and striking the al-Ahli Hosptial in Gaza City.
‘A rocket aimed at Israel misfired and exploded at 18:59—the same moment a hospital was hit in Gaza,’ the IDF wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
‘This is the tragic result of firing rockets from densely populated neighborhoods.’
The incident has sparked a venomous blame game, with Israel vehemently denying responsibility for the blast, claiming it was a rocket misfired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists.
A spokesman for Islamic Jihad in turn blamed the strike on Israel and accused the IDF of ‘trying to cover for the horrifying crime and massacre they committed against civilians.’
Gaza’s Health Ministry said between 200-300 people are thought to have been killed in the hospital explosion, with the death toll expected to rise.
The Israel Defence Forces shared raw footage, revealing the moment a rocket misfired and exploded at the same time the Gaza hospital was hit, killing 500 people
Pictured: The burning hospital building after the strike on Tuesday night
The scene of destruction at Al Ahli hospital after an air strike in Gaza City on Tuesday
People inspect the area of Al-Ahli hospital where hundreds of Palestinians were killed in a blast that Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed on each other on Wednesday
Wounded Palestinians wait for treatment in al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, after arriving from al-Ahli hospital following an explosion there on Tuesday
Palestinians at Al Shifa hospital mourn over the body of a family member after an air strike in Gaza City on Tuesday
IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told CNN that Israel ‘categorically’ do not intentionally strike any sensitive facilities, including hospitals.
‘We did not strike that, and that the intelligence that we have suggests that it was a failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad,’ he said.
‘I want to add, categorically, that we do not intentionally strike any sensitive facilities, and definitely not hospitals,’ he said.
Speaking this morning, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari claimed Hamas knew the hospital blast was caused by an Islamic Jihad rocket but launched a ‘global media campaign’ to blame Israel.
‘They understood with absolute certainty that it was a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad that damaged the hospital.
‘Unlike Hamas, the IDF launched an immediate examination’ of the attack, he said, going onto explain there was no IDF fire ‘from land, sea or air that hit the hospital’.
Hagari added that there was no structural damage to buildings around the Al-Ahli hospital and no craters consistent with an air strike.
He concluded that some 450 rockets fired from Gaza have fallen short and landed inside the strip in the last 11 days. These claims could not be independently verified.
Hellish video taken from the hospital, which was sheltering around 6,000 Palestinians and is funded by the Anglican Church, shows fire engulfing the building and the dozens of bodies strewn over the ground, many of them young children.
Ambulances and private cars rushed some 350 casualties from the al-Ahli blast to Gaza City’s main hospital, al-Shifa, already overwhelmed with wounded from other strikes, said its director, Mohammed Abu Selmia.
‘We are squeezing five beds into a single tiny room. We need equipment, we need medicine, we need beds, we need everything,’ Mr Abu Selmia said, warning that the fuel supply for the hospital’s generators will run out on Wednesday. ‘I think Gaza’s medical sector will collapse within hours.’
In a press conference at al-Shifa, doctors stood surrounded dead children who had been brought from the stricken hospital, holding some of their faces to the cameras to show the horror that had befallen them.
The head of the World Health Organisation today issued a stark warning, saying the situation in Gaza is ‘spiralling out of control’ while calling for the ‘violence on all sides to stop’ so that Israel’s siege can be lifted and medical supplies let into the enclave.
‘Every second we wait to get medical aid in, we lose lives,’ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. ‘We need immediate access to start delivering life-saving supplies.’
The horrific strike has raised already heightened fears that the Hamas-Israel conflict will engulf the Middle East, with Iran’s foreign minister declaring that the ‘time is over’ for Israel.
Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist group based in Lebanon, called for ‘a day of unprecedented anger’ against Israel, while Libya’s foreign ministry accused the Jewish state of ‘war crimes and genocide’.
Wounded Palestinian children lay at the al-Shifa hospital, following Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City on Tuesday
Israel denied responsibility for the blast at al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday, claiming it was a rocket misfired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists
Video from the hospital showed fire engulfing the building and the hospital’s grounds strewn with bodies, many of them young children
Palestinian paramedic carries a child injured in an air strike at the Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern of Gaza Strip on Tuesday
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s foreign minister, later arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday night after the hospital bombing – a remarkable show of unity between two former sworn enemies.
While there, Amir Abdollahian issued a stark warning to Israel, with the foreign minister tweeting: After the terrible crime of the Zionist regime in the bombing and massacre of more than a thousand innocent women and children in the hospital, the time has come for the global unity of humanity against this fake regime more hated than ISIS and its killing machine. Time is OVER.’
The incident has also complicated US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region today, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II cancelling their Arab summit meeting with Biden.
Within hours of the incident, the White House and Jordan’s government announced the meeting was called off.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to offer condolences over a deadly blast at a Gaza hospital and voice support for Palestinians’ ‘legitimate aspirations,’ the State Department said.
Blinken, who is on a regional crisis tour, spoke by telephone with Abbas late Tuesday after the strike on the Ahli Arab Hospital, hours after meeting him in person in Amman.
The Secretary of State called Abbas ‘to express profound condolences for the civilian lives lost in the explosion’ at the hospital, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.
Blinken ‘expressed continuing US support for the Palestinian people, stressing that Hamas terrorists do not represent Palestinians or their legitimate aspirations for self-determination and equal measures of dignity, freedom, security and justice,’ Miller said.
Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt and other Arab nations condemned the hospital blast, which is still being investigated.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi claimed the hospital explosion was ‘a clear violation of international law… and humanity.’