IDF: Hamas knew it was a Gazan rocket that hit hospital, inflated casualty numbers

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari accuses the Hamas terror group of purposely misleading international media outlets by claiming a failed rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip that killed hundreds.

Hagari, in a briefing in English to international media, reads out a translated transcript of an intercepted call between two Hamas officials, in which they talk about the failed Islamic Jihad rocket that hit the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, following a barrage launched from a cemetery in Gaza.

“According to our intelligence, Hamas checked the reports, understood it was an Islamic Jihad rocket that had misfired, and decided to launch a global media campaign to hide what really happened,” Hagari says.

“They went as far as to inflate the number of casualties,” he says.

Hagari says Hamas “understood with absolute certainty that it was a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad that damaged the hospital.”

He claims that the rockets were fired from a cemetery behind the hospital.

Showing a picture of the hospital’s scorched parking lot, Hagari says the damage to the hospital’s parking lot was caused by the rocket impact and due to the large amount of rocket fuel that was still in the projectile as it fell short.

He says that had it been an Israeli airstrike, “we would have seen craters and structural damage to the building, both of which were not identified in this incident.”

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