Israel has denied it was responsible for the blast at a hospital in Gaza that Hamas claims killed at least 500 people and has more trapped under rubble.
Intelligence information revealed that the strike that hit al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City was a rocket misfired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists, the Israeli army has claimed.
But a spokesman for Islamic Jihad has said this is ‘completely incorrect’ and accused the IDF of ‘trying to cover for the horrifying crime and massacre they committed against civilians’..
Hundreds of people were reportedly seeking shelter at the hospital at the time of the blast, which Hamas has called a ‘horrific massacre’ and a ‘crime of genocide’.
The carnage came as the US tried to convince Israel to allow the delivery of supplies to desperate civilians, aid groups, and hospitals in the tiny Gaza Strip, which has been under a complete siege since the deadly rampage by Hamas in southern Israel.
It also came a day before US President Joe Biden was due to visit the region to show support for Israel and try to prevent the war from spreading.
Palestine’s president Mahmoud Abbas is understood to have cancelled the meeting with Biden in protest over the airstrike.
An analysis of IDF operational systems has indicated that the Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation is ‘responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital’.
The military, in a statement, said that a ‘barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit’.
An IDF spokesperson added: ‘Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza.’
The Islamic Jihad is another Gaza-based terrorist group which has claimed to be fighting Israel alongside Hamas. The group has denied responsibility for the attack.
The Israeli army earlier on Tuesday said that a hospital is a ‘highly sensitive building’ and is ‘not an IDF target’, and urged ‘everyone to proceed with caution when reporting unverified claims of a terrorist organisation’.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has also blamed the United States for the attack, saying in a televised speech late on Tuesday that Washington gave Israel ‘the cover for its aggression.’
‘The hospital massacre confirms the enemy’s brutality and the extent of his feeling of defeat,’ he said, adding that the attack will be ‘a new turning point.’
Haniyeh called on all Palestinian people ‘to get out and confront the occupation and the settlers.’ He also called on all Arabs, and Muslims to stage protests against Israel.
Former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal also called for protests in front of Israeli embassies across the world after the hospital blast.