Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
'It wasn't us': Israel releases new audio of militants 'admitting to hospital blast' that killed hundreds in Gaza
18 October 2023, 08:51 | Updated: 18 October 2023, 12:10
Warning: Graphic content
Israel has released audio recordings it said shows Hamas admitting Islamic Jihad were behind the hospital blast that killed hundreds of Palestinians.
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The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) says it had nothing to do with the al-Ahli Arab Hospital explosion, claiming it came from a failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terror group.
The destruction has shocked the world at a time when fears about the toll of the fighting on civilians are running high, with health authorities in Gaza claiming at least 500 people, including women and children, were killed.
The strip's civil defence service estimated the toll was about 300. The hospital was used to shelter people amid Israeli attacks on the strip.
Doctors gave a press conference surrounded by dead children at another hospital in Gaza, al-Shifa, in a stark image of the deadly impact of the war on innocent people between Israel and Hamas.
Islamic Jihad struck a Hospital in Gaza—the IDF did not.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 18, 2023
Listen to the terrorists as they realize this themselves: pic.twitter.com/u7WyU8Rxwz
But the IDF released new surveillance images of the hospital compound, saying it showed the failed launch site nearby which it claims triggered the blast.
Photos comparing the damaged to craters made by Israeli weapons were displayed next to the hospital images.
And it released audio on Wednesday morning which it says contains admissions by Hamas that Islamic Jihad was responsible for the explosion.
A failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization hit the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza City.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 18, 2023
IAF footage from the area around the hospital before and after the failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization: pic.twitter.com/AvCAkQULAf
A spokesperson for the military, Brigadier General Daniel Hagari, said: "We have intelligence... of communication between terrorists talking about rockets misfiring.
"The terrorists realise that the rocket has misfired and make specific reference to the al-Ahli hospital."
He translates the alleged conversation, with terrorists surprised about the missile, saying it was fired from a cemetery behind the hospital but that it "misfired and fell on them".
Islamic Jihad said previously: "The accusations put forward by the enemy are false and baseless."
Hamas, which massacred more than 1,000 Israelis in the biggest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust and kidnapped about 200 people, said the blast was a "horrific massacre" and "genocide".
It comes hours ahead of Joe Biden's visit to the region. He is heading to Israel before an expected ground invasion, which might have been delayed to accommodate his arrival.
The IDF has told civilians in Gaza city to move south in the strip amid calls for it to restore water and power to the area, with the international community fearful of a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Israel will face persistent scrutiny as the civilian death toll, which already stood well over 2,000 in Gaza, continues to rise as it blasts Hamas in the dense and heavily urbanised parts of the strip.
Mohammed Abu Selmia, the director of al-Shifa, warned power to his hospital could run out on Wednesday.
He said: "We are squeezing five beds into a single tiny room. We need equipment, we need medicine, we need beds, we need everything.
"I think Gaza's medical sector will collapse within hours."