Gaza hospital explosion caused by missile fired from Palestine, analysts claim

Footage of the explosion at al-Ahli Hospital suggests it was caused by a missile fired from within Gaza, open source analysts have claimed.

The strike on Tuesday killed hundreds of Palestinians, with horrifying images of the aftermath showing victims being lined up in body bags.

The health ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory blamed Israel for the strike, with several Arab leaders condemning the country for the attack.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) denied the claims and in turn pointed the finger at Islamic Jihad, a group allied with Hamas terrorists.

Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesman, said the country’s drone footage showed that the rocket used in the attack “doesn’t fit any of the ammunition of the [Israeli] airforce”.

Several independent analysts reviewed footage of the explosion and said their investigations supported the IDF’s denial.

Some said the massive blast appeared to have been caused by a failed projectile from a large barrage of rockets launched from northern Gaza.

Islamic Jihad denied that any of its rockets were involved in the blast, claiming it did not have any activity around Gaza City at the time, but analysts noted it has previously used large rockets of the type involved.

Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) is defined as intelligence produced by collecting, evaluating and analysing publicly available information.

One of the tools used is geolocation, which uses landmarks and other clues to gather information about a target or a specific location.

GeoConfirmed, which is run by volunteers, said the strike was likely caused by “a missile launched by a Palestinian group [which] exploded mid-air (reason unknown) and one piece fell on the hospital causing an explosion”.

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Wounded Palestinians sit in al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City following the explosion – AP

The group cited several clips believed to be of the explosion from different sources and claimed the “geolocation and timing of the footage is conclusive”. However, they said their conclusions are not “proven fact”.

“That doesn’t mean that they are THE truth, just what we think is highly likely based on our geolocations(facts) and logic/reason,” they wrote on Twitter.

“We are geolocators, not official investigators… To be sure what really happened, different official investigations are needed.”

Separately, Evan Hill, who conducts open source investigations for the Washington Post said a video taken from a livestream “does appear to show a rocket interception” followed by an explosion at the hospital.

It comes as US President Joe Biden ordered his own national security team to investigate what happened.

The White House released a statement from Mr Biden in which he decried the “terrible loss of life” from the blast but did not apportion blame to either party.

The carefully-worded comment was released on Tuesday while Mr Biden was travelling to the Middle East for talks in Israel.

His trip to Jordan for a summit on humanitarian aid for Palestinians, which was set to take place after his visit to Tel Aviv, was cancelled.

Mr Biden had been scheduled to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Palestinian Authority president Mahmound Abbas.

“There is no use in talking now about anything except stopping the war,” Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi said on state television.

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