- The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said Tuesday that Israeli forces attacked a hospital.
- The ministry said at least 500 people had been killed in an airstrike, according to the AP.
- But Israel says the explosion was caused by an Islamic Jihad rocket that misfired.
Palestinian officials and Israel are pointing fingers over an explosion at a hospital in Gaza City that reportedly killed hundreds of people.
Graphic photos shared on Facebook by the Palestinian Health Ministry showed a building immersed in flames with a body and blood on the floor. The Hamas-led ministry blamed an Israeli airstrike for the explosion at the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza.
“The occupation targets the Gaza Baptist Hospital, which shelters displaced people from the ongoing aggression on the Gaza Strip,” the health ministry said on Facebook. Other images from wire services including the Associated Press and Getty show wounded Palestinians in the aftermath of the purported attack.
According to the Associated Press, the ministry said at least 500 people had been killed in the hospital bombing.
But Israel blamed the militant group Islamic Jihad for the attack, saying it was their rocket that struck the hospital.
The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement posted to its official account on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, that “based on intelligence we received from several sources, the Islamic Jihad organization is responsible for the failed shelling that hit the hospital.”
“Analysis of the IDF’s operational systems shows an enemy rocket barrage was carried out towards Israel, which passed near the hospital when it was hit,” IDF added.
Israel has been launching airstrikes on Gaza since the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched its deadly terrorist attacks on the Jewish state more than a week ago.
The surprise attacks by Hamas have left more than 1,400 people dead in Israel; nearly 200 more people were taken hostage into Gaza by militants, Israeli officials have said.
Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza have killed more than 2,700 Palestinians, toppled residential buildings and mosques, and caused damage to hospitals and healthcare facilities. Meanwhile, Hamas has continued to fire rockets into Israeli territory as the conflict escalates.
The World Health Organization has documented 48 attacks on health care in the Gaza Strip since Hamas launched its attacks on October 7, resulting in damage to 24 hospitals and other healthcare facilities, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus condemned the reported attack on al-Ahli Hospital on Tuesday.
“We call for the immediate protection of civilians and health care, and for the evacuation orders to be reversed,” he said in a post on X.
Gaza officials have warned that the health system is on the verge of collapse as Israel continues its bombardment of the territory.
Correction: October 17, 2023 — This story was updated to include statements from the Israel Defense Forces. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated which militant group Israeli officials blamed for the explosion at a Gaza hospital. Israel has alleged that a rocket fired by Islamic Jihad caused the explosion.