A failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rocket launch killed hundreds of Palestinians on Tuesday night at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, the Israel Defense Forces said.
“Intelligence from multiple sources we have indicates that the PIJ organization is responsible for the failed launch that hit the hospital,” stated IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.
“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the hospital at the time it was hit,” Hagari added.
“The entire world should know: It was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF,” wrote Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Those who brutally murdered our children also murder their own children.”
The explosion rocked the hospital, as Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired heavy barrages of rockets at southern and central Israel. Alarms sounded in major cities, including Rishon Letzion, Petach Tikvah, Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan and Bat Yam.
Hamas’s Izzad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said it targeted the northern Israeli city of Haifa with an R-160 long-range rocket.
Hamas had charged that “the massacre at the Baptist Hospital is a crime of genocide” and blamed Israel. The terror group called on Arab and Islamic countries to “intervene immediately” and urged Arabs in Judea and Samaria to attack Israeli forces to “avenge the massacre.”
U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to land Wednesday morning in Israel. Multiple U.S. naval carrier strike groups are in or are en route to the region.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas canceled a planned meeting tomorrow with Biden, a senior Palestinian Authority official told the Associated Press. The summit with Biden was expected to include Jordanian King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Abbas ordered that three days of mourning be observed in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, and that PLO flags be flown at half-mast, according to the authority’s Wafa news agency.
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other Gaza-based terror groups have for years fired rockets at Israeli civilians from within residential areas in the coastal enclave. They have been reported to place weapons inside or near hospitals and other public buildings.
During the May 2021 Gaza conflict, some 15% of all the rockets that Hamas and PIJ launched fell short inside Gaza, killing many Palestinians in the enclave.
Hamas killed at least 1,400 Israelis in a massive attack on Oct. 7, which included the firing of thousands of rockets at Israel and the infiltration of the Jewish state by more than 2,500 terrorists, who butchered and tortured men, women, children and infants.