The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said the explosion in Baptist Hospital, Al-Ahli, in northern Gaza was a result of a failed rocket launch towards Israel from Gaza.
In a post made on X on Tuesday, the IDF wrote that its analysis concluded that the Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation is responsible for the failed rocket launch that hit the hospital.
“Following an analysis by the IDF’s operational systems, a barrage of rockets was launched toward Israel, which passed in the vicinity of the hospital, when it was hit.
“According to intelligence information from a number of sources we have, Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation is responsible for the failed rocket launch that hit the hospital,” the post read.
Israel’s military position, which was echoed in a statement by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, came shortly after the Hamas terrorist group that runs Gaza said it was Israel that bombed the hospital. Neither side of the unfolding incursion in Gaza has offered conclusive evidence about what transpired, with different videos circulating online that appeared to favour the argument of both sides.
The Palestinian ministry of health confirmed within the first moments of the explosion that more than 500 civilians including already injured patients, hospital staff and Gaza residents who are taking shields in the hospital were critically injured. Middle East tabloid, Al Arabiya, has updated that over 500 people have died from the explosion and 800 are critically injured, bringing the number of casualties to well over a thousand.
The hospital was one of 20 hospitals in the area facing evacuation orders from the Israeli state, orders that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has condemned as impossible.
The United Nations human rights office also said on Tuesday that Israel’s “siege” of Gaza and its evacuation orders could amount to an international crime of forcible transfer of civilians.
Israel has insisted it was doing its best to avoid civilian casualties, and issued a warning over the weekend for residents to leave northern Gaza, where bombardments were being planned by Israeli operatives.
While the international community is paying attention to the escalating violence against the civilian population in Gaza, countries that are closely monitoring the conflict have condemned the explosion which they described as Israel’s continued aggression against humanity.
“I condemn in the strongest of terms Israel’s bombardment,” Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a statement. He described the explosion as a “clear violation of international law.”
Abu Dhabi said in a statement also that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “strongly condemns the Israeli attack that targeted Al Ahli Baptist Hospital in the Gaza Strip resulting in the death and injury of hundreds of people.”