Who struck the Gaza hospital? Who will be held accountable for it?

The attack on Al-Ahli Al-Maadani Hospital in the Gaza Strip, which killed at least 800 people, attracted media attention around the world. Hamas blamed Israel for the attack, while the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) blamed Palestinian group Islamic Jihad (recognised as terrorist group and banned in Russia).

US President Joe Biden commented on the attack on the hospital and said that it was not Israel that struck the medical institution.

"We have to bear in mind that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. I am deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion in the hospital in Gaza yesterday," Joe Biden said. "And based on what I've seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you," he told Netanyahu. "But there's a lot of people out there who are not sure, so we have got to overcome a lot of things," the US President said.

He also added that such cases can only confirm that the Gazans are suffering from the Islamist group.

Biden's Air Force One landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel at 10:51 local time.

Arab press blames Israel

The Arab press supported the version about Israel carrying out the attack on the hospital in Gaza. According to Al Jazeera, thousands of protesters took to the streets in the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday to express their outrage after Israel's deadly attack on the hospital in Gaza.

Since Israel began air strikes on Gaza on October 7, tens of thousands of residents have fled to hospitals seeking refuge from ongoing bombing, Al Jazeera said.

Arab News called the incident an Israeli air attack too. The publication noted that the strike was the deadliest incident in Gaza since Israel began relentless bombardments of the region in response to the Hamas attack.

A number of Turkish publications — Daily Sabah, Anadolu, Hürriyet Daily News — also reported that the hospital was attacked by Israel. In particular, Daily Sabah described the incident as an "inhumane attack by Israel.”

IDF and Islamic Jihan blame-shifting

A data analysis conducted by the IDF showed that the rockets that were fired from the Gaza Strip passed in close proximity to the hospital at the time of the strike.

"Intelligence data from multiple sources at our disposal indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch that hit a hospital in Gaza," IDF said in a statement.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said that the rockets fired by Islamic Jihad flew past the hospital during the explosion that hit the hospital's parking lot. The Israeli Air Force was carrying out an operation in the area, but the Israeli military used the ammunition the destruction scale of which did not correspond to what the IDF saw in the footage of the strike.

Hamas wrote on its Telegram channel on October 17 at 20:14 that Haifa was being shelled with R160 rockets. Back in 2014, the armed wing of Hamas (Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades) reported the possibility of building the R-160 missile, which is a Palestinian version of the M-302 ammunition. The basic version of the 302 mm unguided missile was developed in Syria based on the Chinese WS-1 ammunition. The missile is believed to be 100 kilometres in range.

The Israeli military presented evidence of their non-involvement in the attack on the hospital in the Gaza Strip. The IDF press service published a video of the impact site indicating that there were no Israeli ammo craters there.

According to the IDF military, an attack from Israel would have left a crater from seven to nineteen meters in diameter.

Islamic Jihad denies Israel accusations

Islamic Jihad denies Israel's accusations. The group insists it was not involved in the strikes on the hospital. Islamic Jihad claimed that Israeli officials presented different versions of what happened, all of which were false and unsubstantiated.

Thus, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Ben-Dor claimed that weapons and explosives were deliberately stored inside the hospital. He also said that the explosion occurred inside the hospital after rockets were launched from its perimeter. At the same time, the Israeli army stated that the attack on the hospital occurred as a result of an unsuccessful missile launch.

"This confirms that liars do not agree on any of the versions," Islamic Jihad said.

Hamas militants use unguided surface-to-surface rockets of their own production. Previously, the Palestinians showed the process of making rockets from water pipes. The footage shows the preparation of combat units, the creation of hulls and the installation of missiles into launchers.

Experts believe that Hamas uses custom-made Quassam-SH and Ayyash-250 rockets, as well as Iranian analogues of the Chinese Type 63 MLRS.

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Gaza hospital strike
Author`s name Andrey Mihayloff
Editor Dmitry Sudakov