An explosion just outside the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza has triggered finger-pointing by Palestine and Israel.
Palestinian authorities claim the explosion killed over 500 people, but video evidence shows the damage was primarily limited to a parking lot. The actual death toll is likely substantially smaller. The impact crater from the rocket was tiny and most of the damage appears from an incendiary blast and lacked significant explosive force. This align with the theory of a failed rocket burning off excess propellant upon crashing.
Video by Al-Jazeera showed a rocket volley was launched by Hamas towards Israel, passing over the hospital from a position a dozen or so blocks away. As the volley continues, the explosion can be seen, indicating it could have been a misfired Hamas rocket.
Another angle of video shows what appears to be an Israeli Iron Dome intercept over Gaza around the same time. Plumes of black smoke can be observed within a few blocks of the hospital possible indicating other recently targeted sites.
Israel released audio of an alleged phone intercept where two Hamas terrorists discuss a misfired rocket that was launched from a graveyard directly behind the hospital. There is no evidence any rockets were launched from this graveyard near the time of the explosion on the hospital grounds. In fact, video evidence directly contradicts this audio.
Israel had previously demanded Palestinians evacuate from hospitals in north Gaza “for their safety.”
While eventually denying culpability, Israel initially claimed it didn’t know who was responsible for the attack and was investigating. This is troubling considering they should know whether they were launching missile strike in the area or not.
Huge protests have erupted around the world in support for Palestine after the attack.
Many Middle East nations condemned the attack and attributed it to Israel.
Analyst Comment: At this time the preponderance of evidence points to a misfired Hamas rocket. Nevertheless, Israel appears to have fabricated or released out-of-context audio to bolster their claim of no responsibility. Neither side should be trusted for accurate reporting of events in Gaza.Further, this will increase scrutiny on Israel for their deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure in north Gaza, which is killing many Palestinian civilians.