After the explosion at the parking lot of the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza, Hamas immediately accused Israel of being responsible, of having committed a “massacre” or even more preposterously, a “genocide.” This hysterical charge was taken up at once and repeated by most of the international media who were perfectly willing to parrot the Hamas story. Within a day, however, having thoroughly investigated the incident, relying on timing (when a barrage of rockets had been let loose from Gaza by Palestinian Islamic Jihad), on visual evidence of a PIJ rocket misfiring and landing next to the hospital at a parking lot, and on audio (the telephone call, recorded by the Israelis, of two Hamas operatives discussing the fact that a PIJ rocket had indeed misfired), the Israelis concluded that it was not they who were responsible — there were no Israeli operations going on at that time anywhere near the hospital — but a misfired PIJ rocket. After all, just since Oct. 7, there had been 450 rockets, launched from Gaza, that misfired and landed in Gaza, killing civilians.
And now we learn that not only did Hamas lie about who caused the explosion, but lied as well about the number of casualties. More on this latest development can be found here: “Death toll in Gaza hospital blast greatly exaggerated – independent intel,” by Maya Zanger-Nadis, Jerusalem Post, October 19, 2023:
The number of deaths at the Al-Ahli Arab hospital caused by the misfired Palestinian Islamic Jihad missile on Wednesday night may have been grossly misrepresented by local sources [Hamas], according to Thursday reports from a number of independent intelligence sources as well as European news sources.
Local Hamas-run Gazan sources allege that 471 people were killed at the hospital; foreign independent intelligence sources claimed instead that the number was closer to 10-50.
France’s Le Monde noted in a Thursday analysis that 15 lifeless bodies were visible in verified video footage of the area moments after the explosion. Four of those were bodies of infants.
Open-source intelligence source OSINTtechnical on X (formerly Twitter) analyzed the incident using satellite imagery obtained via SkyWatch satellite. It noted that no clear difference could be discerned in the area around the hospital complex. Specifically, OSINT examined the graveyard from which the projectile was reportedly launched according to an intercepted phone call released by the IDF.
In the IDF recording, two Hamas agents discovered that one of the PIJ rockets had fallen at the hospital rather than in Israel proper.
OSINT [Open-Source Intelligence] noted that, based on a preliminary analysis of the images, “there isn’t a ‘smoking gun’ here that can be easily pointed to.”
Both OSINT and Nathan Ruser, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, also evaluated snapshots of the parking lot outside the hospital from before and after the blast.
Ruser stated that, in his opinion, “the photos of the scene are not consistent with claims that 500+ people were killed.”
OSINT surmised that the blast had the worst impact on the displaced persons who were gathered for shelter in the hospital’s courtyard. Between 30-50 of those people were likely killed on Wednesday night. “They took the worst of the blast,” OSINT wrote, “many of their bodies were badly burnt.”
Ruser noted that within about 10 meters of the impact site, cars appeared largely undamaged.
Finally, according to Reuters citing an unclassified US intelligence report released on Thursday, the death toll is estimated to be “probably at the low end of the 100 to 300 spectrum.” Reuters added that the assessment may evolve.
And, indeed, the latest estimate of the number of dead has now gone from “close to 500” down to between 10 and 50, based on European intelligence sources. In other words, instead of the original hysterical claims of “500 dead,”that were parroted across the world, the real number turns out to be between 2% and 10%of that amount. But do you think the BBC, or The Guardian, The New York Times, and the Washington Post, will run stories discussing the latest, much diminished, estimates as to the numbers of casualties at the hospital parking lot, that European intelligence specialists — not the Israelis — have determined? Of course not.
When the explosion occurred at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza on Wednesday night, Gazan authorities pinned responsibility on the IDF. Foreign media outlets as well as international government spokespeople condemned Israsl’s purported attack.
However, it later came out in an IDF report endorsed by US intelligence officials and other independent intelligence sources that the explosion was caused by a misfired Palestinian Islamic Jihad missile fired toward Israel from inside Gaza….
The US intelligence officials did not rely on Israel’s findings; they conducted their own investigation, and came to the same conclusion: the small size of the crater, both in width and depth, was incommensurate with an airstrike; the visual of the sky above the site just before the explosion showed a barrage of rockets launched from Gaza, with one of them then turning back and downward toward the Strip, where it landed in the car park right next to the hospital. The hospital itself sustained almost no structural damage, and in the parking lot, fewer than a half-dozen cars had been burned. Had there been an Israeli air strike, the hospital building might well have buckled, and the parking lot would have been full of dozens of charred wrecks.
Now that the media — outside of that in the Arab and Muslim lands — have accepted the American/West European/Israeli view that Israel was not responsible for the explosion in the hospital car park but, rather, an errant PIJ rocket, they should now investigate another claim by Hamas, equally false — that 471 people died — by reviewing the study conducted by European investigators. One hopes that many of them, if not all, will be willing to admit that here too, they were misled by Hamas and will disclose the real, much diminished, numbers of casualties.
“Hospital in Gaza hit by Israeli airstrike, 500 feared dead” should now become “Parking lot next to hospital hit by misfired PIJ missile, between 10 and 50 now feared dead.” But will it?