A failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket launch at Israel caused the explosion at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday night, the IDF confirms.
“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,” Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said at a press briefing on Wednesday morning.
Terrorists fired a barrage of rockets at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, and at 6:59 p.m., Islamic Jihad fired another barrage of around 10 rockets from a nearby cemetery. This was the exact time that the hospital blast was reported, Hagari explained.
“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,” Hagari continued.
“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.”
The IDF provided a recording of a conversation between Hamas operatives regarding the hospital bombing, which confirms that it was a failed Islamic Jihad rocket launch that caused it, including that it looked “like local shrapnel and not like Israeli shrapnel.”
One of the Hamas operatives said that the Palestinians launched the rocket from a cemetery behind the hospital and that “it misfired and fell on them.”
Aerial footage shows that the hospital was not directly hit and that the only place showing damage was the parking lot next to it, Hagari said.
Israel’s Channel 12 also provided visual evidence on Wednesday of the errant Islamic Jihad rocket, showing footage from one of its news cameras placed in the southern Israeli city of Netivot.
The video appears to show the rocket being launched and then immediately striking in the vicinity of the hospital.
‘Palestinian civilians pay the price’
It is common for Gazan terrorist rockets aimed at Israel to fall short, causing Palestinian casualties, Hagari noted, adding that the IDF has counted approximately 450 rockets that misfired and hit in Gaza.
“Palestinian civilians pay the price,” he said.
Hagari said that the information was being shared with partners, including the United States.
“We want maximum transparency because we take any incident involving civilians very seriously. Unfortunately, many in the media immediately reported the statements coming out of Hamas-controlled Gaza, which blamed Israel,” he continued.
“Instead of waiting for the examination of credible information from the IDF, some media outlets ran with Hamas’s lies. Some of those headlines are still up and have not been corrected.
“I understand the desire to break news, but I hope you will all agree that accuracy and credible information comes before speed,” said Hagari.
“The IDF acts in accordance with international law,” he noted.
“In conclusion, this incident shows how allegations—in this case, false and baseless allegations made by terrorists—against Israel can spread and inflame tensions in the region,” Hagari said.