A former UN weapons expert has embarked on a mission to uncover the truth behind a deadly attack in Gaza on October 17, 2023. The attack occurred at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital and resulted in the deaths of several hundred Palestinians who had sought shelter on the hospital grounds after being displaced by Israeli bombs. Hamas immediately accused Israel, a claim that was widely reported and sparked international outrage. However, Israel vehemently denied any involvement and instead placed the blame on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an ally of Hamas.
Israel presented several pieces of evidence to support its claim, including radar data, intercepted communications, and videos allegedly showing a malfunctioning PIJ rocket hitting the hospital. However, given Israel’s history of dishonesty in incidents involving civilian casualties, doubts were raised about the credibility of this evidence. Moreover, Al Jazeera conducted a comprehensive analysis of the incident and presented a timeline that raised further questions about Israel’s narrative.
According to Al Jazeera’s timeline, the incident at the Al-Ahli Hospital was not an isolated event, but rather part of a larger battle between the Israeli Air Force and Hamas and PIJ forces in the area. In the minutes leading up to the attack, Israel carried out four airstrikes against targets near the hospital. At 6:59 pm, multiple rockets were fired from a position south of the hospital towards Israel. These rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, and a single rocket was subsequently launched from the same location and intercepted.
At 55 seconds past 6:59 pm, a small explosion occurred near the hospital, followed by a larger blast on the hospital grounds. The physical evidence at the scene of the attack contradicted Hamas’ claim of an Israeli bomb, as the size of the crater and the extent of the damage were inconsistent with such an explosion. However, the evidence also did not align with the Israeli narrative, as the size of the crater suggested a small warhead with less than 50 pounds of high explosives, potentially ruling out both a PIJ rocket and an Israeli bomb.
The analysis of the crater indicated that the rocket likely originated from a location south-southwest of the hospital, supporting Israel’s assertion. However, the video evidence did not conclusively support this claim, leaving room for doubt. Additionally, Israel’s extensive use of the Mikholit air-to-ground missile during the Gaza conflict raised the possibility that this weapon, rather than a PIJ rocket or an Israeli bomb, was responsible for the attack.
Further fueling skepticism about Israel’s narrative was a tweet by Hananya Naftali, a digital content advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Naftali initially claimed that the Israeli Air Force had struck a Hamas base inside the hospital, but later deleted the tweet, stating that he had made an error based on a Reuters news story with a similar headline. The original story, titled “More than 300 killed in Israeli air strike on Gaza Hospital,” suggested that the attack was carried out by Israel. However, it’s important to note that the credibility of this information is uncertain.
In summary, the fog of war surrounding the attack at the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza remains, with conflicting narratives from Hamas and Israel clouding the truth. While Israel has presented evidence to support its claim that the attack was caused by a malfunctioning PIJ rocket, doubts persist due to discrepancies in the evidence and Israel’s past dishonesty in similar incidents. Further investigation is necessary to uncover the truth behind this deadly attack.