NEW DELHI: Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City was hit by a huge explosion on Tuesday, killing hundreds of Palestinians who were injured or seeking shelter there, according to the health ministry run by Hamas. The ministry said at least 500 people died in the blast at al-Ahli hospital.
The ministry said the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike, but the Israeli army said it was a rocket fired by Islamic Jihad, a smaller and more extreme Palestinian militant faction allied with Hamas.
The ministry said at least 500 people died in the blast at al-Ahli hospital.Here is what we know so far:
*The scene was horrific at the al-Ahli hospital. Verified videos showed flames engulfing the building and the hospital grounds littered with mutilated bodies, many of them children. Blankets, school bags and other personal items were scattered on the grass.
*Hamas denounced the hospital blast as “a terrible slaughter” and blamed Israel for it.

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*The Israeli army said Islamic Jihad was responsible for the blast, saying the group had launched a volley of rockets near the hospital and that “multiple sources of intelligence” confirmed this.
* An IDF spokesperson 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.”
*The army’s chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, told reporters that there were no Israeli air, ground or naval attacks in the area when the blast happened. He said radar detected incoming rocket fire at the same time, and communications intercepted between militant groups showed that Islamic Jihad had fired the rockets.
*Hagari also showed aerial footage taken by a military drone that revealed a blast that he said did not match Israeli weapons. He said the explosion took place in the parking lot of the building.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the claim of IDF was backed up by Justin Bronk, a senior research fellow in airpower and technology at the Royal United Services Institute, who said video of the explosion did not match with the type of weapons Israel typically uses.
As per Daily Mail report, Bronk wrote on X: “For what it’s worth, this doesn’t look or sound quite like an air strike using the typical IAF 1000lb or 2000lb JDAM/Mk80 series to me. Incoming projectile sounds like it’s under power and the explosion frames visible look like largely propellant fire rather than HE [high explosive] detonation…”
*Islamic Jihad, however, rejected those accusations, saying Israel was “trying hard to dodge responsibility for the cruel massacre it carried out.”
*The group cited Israel’s order to evacuate al-Ahli and its previous bombing of the hospital complex as evidence that the hospital was an Israeli target. It also said the magnitude of the explosion, the direction of the bomb’s descent and the degree of the damage all indicated Israel.
In recent days, hundreds of Palestinians had taken shelter in al-Ahli and other hospitals in Gaza City, hoping to avoid shelling after Israel ordered all residents of the city and nearby areas to move to the south of Gaza.
Before the deaths at al-Alhi Hospital, Israeli attacks on Gaza had killed at least 2,778 people and injured 9,700, the Gaza Health Ministry said. A ministry official said almost two-thirds of those killed were children. Health authorities said another 1,200 people in Gaza were thought to be trapped under debris, alive or dead.
On October 7, Hamas attacked southern Israel and killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians. It also took some 200 people prisoner into Gaza. Since then, Hamas militants in Gaza have fired rockets every day at Israeli cities.
(With inputs from agencies)

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