An explosion at a hospital in Gaza was not the result of an Israeli airstrike but was likely caused by a malfunctioning Palestinian rocket, France’s military intelligence service (DRM) said on Friday.
Palestinian officials said 471 people were killed in the blast at Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital on Tuesday. The Gaza Health Ministry blamed Israel for the attack, and Israel claims that the explosion was caused by a failed rocket launch by the militants.
“There is nothing that allows us to say that it is an Israeli attack, but the most likely (scenario) is a Palestinian rocket,” DRM said.
The crater was too small to have been caused by an Israeli missile, according to the DRM.
“The most likely hypothesis is a Palestinian rocket that exploded with a charge of about five kilograms,” the DRM told reporters, adding that Palestinian groups had small-caliber rockets with this type of explosive charge.
The DRM does not usually release such information, but on instructions from French President Emmanuel Macron, decided to release it in light of conflicting reports about those responsible for the attack on the hospital.
French intelligence has ruled out various possibilities such as fragments from the Israeli Iron Dome air defense system or an intercepted missile.
Part of the analysis was based on available materials, which included several broken windows, destroyed vehicles, and the relatively limited presence of civilian objects at the blast site.
The DRM could not determine the exact location of the rocket launch and did not blame any group for it.
They did not want to provide an estimate of the number of dead, but stated that it was probably less than 471 people.
Israel responded to a Hamas attack on October 7 that killed 1,400 Israelis by vowing to destroy the group, placing the 2.3 million people in Gaza under siege. More than 4,100 people were killed in the attacks on the enclave, and more than a million were left homeless, Hina reports.