Several dozen people lost their lives in an explosion Tuesday in front of a hospital in Gaza City, or fewer than 500 as Hamas claimed, a spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
The clarification came after Israel and the United States said preliminary evidence suggested the explosion was triggered by Hamas rocket misfires, which the militant group blamed on Israel and inflated the death toll deaths to fuel tensions in the war-torn region.
“The explosion at Al-Hali hospital in Gaza is a human tragedy in which several dozen people were killed,” Lior Haiat posted on X.
“This is also a Palestinian tragedy, in which we once again see Palestinian terrorist organizations murdering their own people, after having cynically used them as human shields,” Haiat said.
The foreign affairs official then blasted media outlets that shared the terrorist organization’s version of events, calling out the New York Times directly with a screenshot of its headline that read: “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in hospital, Palestinians say.
“Dozens of international media outlets, including the largest and most prominent, have abandoned basic journalistic ethics and published incorrect, misleading and false information originating from a planned campaign by the terrorist organization Hamas,” Haiat said .
Claims that the death toll at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital had been significantly reduced were consistent with government and independent analyzes that showed there had been no structural damage to the facility or any large craters in its parking lot where the impact was centered.
Blake Spendley, an open source intelligence analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses, a Virginia think tank, told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that he estimated a more realistic toll from the blast would be around 50, more like than 500.
Gaza’s health ministry, controlled by Hamas, said 471 people were killed in the explosion.
The hospital has only 80 beds, but it is well over capacity, filled with Palestinians injured in ongoing Israeli airstrikes and evacuees seeking refuge amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
New York Post