New investigation disputes Israel claims about al-Ahli hospital bombing

New investigation disputes Israel claims about al-Ahli hospital bombing
Israel claimed that a misfired rocket fired by Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad had caused the explosion.
3 min read
19 February, 2024
The strike on al-Ahli hospital, which killed between 100 and 300 people, was one of the largest mass casualty events in Israel's war on Gaza at the time of the strike [Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images]

A new report from Forensic Architecture has disputed Israeli claims that a rocket salvo from Gaza led to the bombing of al-Ahli hospital in October.

The report, published on Thursday, disputes two Israeli claims about the strike that killed 100 to 300 people.

The first Israeli claim is that a misfired rocket from Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad was the reason for the explosion, with the second being that the damage and large number of casualties was caused by unspent rocket propellant.

Israel referred to footage from Al-Jazeera to back up the claim, with the footage showing an explosion that Israel says caused the rocket to fall and hit the hospital.

However, the Forensic Architecture investigation reveals that the rocket that was shown exploding was caused by an Israeli interceptor.

It also reveals that Israel's claim the rocket explosion that caused al-Ahli strike, captured by the footage 8 seconds after the interception, could not have occurred as it would have taken the rocket 31 seconds to fall and reach the ground.

Regarding the rocket propellant, the investigation determined that all 17 rockets that were fired in salvo that preceded the explosion had expended their fuel propellant whilst the rockets were mid-flight, ruling out the possibility fuel could have caused the extensive damage.

As well as dismissing Israeli claims, the investigation said that the evidence provided by Israel was part of a disinformation campaign around the source of the explosion.

Further, the investigation notes that "Israel has yet to provide any conclusive visual evidence to support the claim that the source of the deadly blast at al-Ahli hospital was a Hamas or PIJ rocket".

Since 7 October, Israel has targeted many of Gaza's medical facilities, with the World Health Organisation reporting by January there had been over 300 attacks on medical infrastructure in the enclave. Israeli forces have also repeatedly besieged and raided medical facilities.

This includes the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City which was subjected to an Israeli siege following claims that a major Hamas command centre was underneath the hospital. The claims were not substantiated following the invasion of the hospital.

Most recently, Israel besieged and targeted the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, with an Israeli shell striking the hospital's orthopaedic department prior to a raid on the hospital grounds.

Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the UN's Human Rights Office, condemned the attack, saying that the raid "appears to be part of a pattern of attacks by Israeli forces striking essential life-saving civilian infrastructure in Gaza, especially hospitals".

Israel's war on Gaza has killed at least 29,092 people and wounded a further 69,028, with aid agencies warning of an urgent danger of famine in the enclave.