Israel says Palestinian terrorists behind Gaza hospital blast
FOX News’ Jonathan Hunt walks through video and audio evidence behind Israel’s claims relating to the Gaza hospital blast.
A steady stream of rocket misfires by Hamas and Islamic Jihad have resulted in the deaths of several Palestinians since the war between Israel and Iran-backed terrorists first began earlier this month, according to one Israeli defense official.
“They are killing their own people,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari said Saturday.
Hagari noted that one-fifth of the rockets that have been fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad have missed intended targets and landed inside Gaza, killing civilians. That number, Hagari said, amounts to more than 550 rockets.
The comments from Hagari came roughly four days after the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City was struck by an errant rocket. The blast reportedly left hundreds dead. Hamas initially claimed the hospital was attacked in an Israeli strike; Israel countered after an investigation that it was hit by an errant missile launched by terrorists in Gaza.
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A view of the surroundings of al-Ahli Hospital after it was hit in Gaza City, Gaza, Oct. 18, 2023. (Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Online video that made rounds on social media suggested the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City was not directly hit by a rocket on Tuesday. Instead, the missile appears to have struck a nearby parking lot, leading to many conflicting claims of who was responsible, where the missile struck and how many people died.
After an investigation, Israel said the rocket was fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization backed by Iran.
“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the al-Ahli [Baptist] Hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” IDF officials said. “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.”
President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in an expanded bilateral meeting with Israeli and U.S. government officials Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Biden, who was in Israel Wednesday, said intelligence from the Pentagon also supported Israel’s assertion that the blast originated from rocket fire in Gaza. The president reiterated his belief that Israel was not to blame later on Wednesday. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson also reaffirmed the U.S. position.
The string of misfires, according to Joe Truzman, a research analyst for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, is a result of “Hamas and other groups like Islamic Jihad” having to “make do with the material they have.”
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“Iran is the chief supporter of several Palestinian armed groups, including other bad actors across the region,” Truzman told Fox News Digital. “The regime in Iran funds, arms and supports its network of proxies and clients. The caveat with Palestinian groups in Gaza and the West Bank is that Iran is not able to transfer advanced weapons without the Israelis thwarting it. Iran has likely been able to get some weapons through, but it’s a difficult task.
“Because of this hurdle, the Iranians focus on arming Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terrorist organizations with the know-how to build weapons,” he explained. “With this knowledge, Hamas is able to locally produce rockets, mortars, drones and other weapons. While this knowledge has its advantages in the war against Israel, Hamas and other groups like Islamic Jihad have to make do with the materiel they have.”
A chart released by the IDF last week showed an increasing trend in the amount of Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets that failed upon launch and landed in the Gaza Strip. (IDF Spokesman’s Unit)
A chart released by the IDF last week showed an increasing number of Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets failed upon launch and landed in the Gaza Strip. Nearly 13% of the rockets that were fired toward Israel Oct. 17 landed in the densely populated enclave.
Describing some methods terrorists have used in an effort to achieve their mission, Truzman noted that “Hamas has dug up underground water pipes that were left behind following the evacuation of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip.”
Palestinian terror groups in Gaza launch rockets toward Israel. (Majdi Fathi/TPS)
“These pipes are used to build rockets. And while it may be a clever method to build up Hamas’ arsenal, it doesn’t mean the rockets are effective and will always travel to the intended target,” he added. “Also, the rockets are produced by terrorist organizations, not a complex arms industry.”
As for why there have been so many misfires, Truzman said he believes it’s because the terrorists have not “perfected” the process of developing efficient rockets with reliable materials.
“An example of a misfire was filmed last year by a pro-Hamas outfit called al-Mayadeen. The crew filmed a rocket fired by a Palestinian terrorist group, landing short, striking civilian infrastructure,” he said. “While Hamas and other groups have learned how to self-produce rockets, it certainly doesn’t mean they have perfected it, and this is likely the reason why we are witnessing some of these rockets landing inside the Gaza Strip.”
A salvo of rockets is fired by Hamas terrorists toward Israel in Gaza City Oct. 13, 2023. (Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry claimed Saturday that 4,385 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the war broke out and 3,561 have been wounded in the Israeli strikes. It is unclear how many people in the Gaza Strip have died or been injured as a result of rocket misfires by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups.
Fox News’ Greg Wehner, Michael Tobin, and Trey Yingst contributed to this report.
Kyle Morris covers politics for Fox News. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @RealKyleMorris.