European intelligence source tells AFP: A maximum of 50 killed in Gaza hospital

People search through debris outside the site of the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza on October 18, 2023 in the aftermath of a blast there. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
People search through debris outside the site of the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza on October 18, 2023 in the aftermath of a blast there. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

A senior European intelligence source tells AFP that he believes a maximum of 50 people were killed in the blast at the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday.

Israel has denied it was responsible for the explosion, providing evidence that it was caused by a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket aimed at Israel, which has been accepted by the UK, US and many others as credible.

Israel has also cast heavy doubt on Hamas’s claims that 500 people were killed in the blast. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry later said at least 471 people had been killed.

IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus also disputed the Hamas-run ministry’s figures, asking, “Where are all the bodies?”

CNN cited a US assessment that estimates 100-300 people were killed in the blast.

AFP correspondents saw dozens of bodies at the scene, with medics and civilians recovering bodies wrapped in white cloth, blankets or black plastic bags. Images of the hospital after the strike published by the Maxar satellite monitoring group show the hospital buildings mainly appeared to be intact.

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