Thursday, June 20, 2024

‘Fabrication of lies‘: Palestinian Islamic Jihad rejects Israel accusation over Gaza hospital attack

Palestinian Islamic Jihad has described as “lies” the Israeli army’s accusations that the Islamic group was responsible for a deadly strike on a hospital in Gaza.

“The Zionist enemy is trying hard to evade its responsibility for the brutal massacre he committed by bombing the Baptist Arab National Hospital in Gaza through his usual fabrication of lies, and through pointing the finger of blame at the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine,” it said in a statement.

“We therefore affirm the accusations put forward by the enemy are false and baseless,” it added.

Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari had claimed a barrage of rockets fired from within Gaza “passed in the vicinity” of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital at the time it was hit.

Citing “intelligence information” from several sources, he stated the Islamic Jihad group was responsible for the failed launch that struck the hospital.

“Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza,” a military statement read.

It comes as social media accounts belonging to the State of Israel and the Israeli ambassador to the US appear to have deleted a video on posts claiming that a rocket fired from within Gaza caused the deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City.

The video showed a barrage of rockets being fired, with one appearing to go off-course in a downward trajectory, followed by the flash of an apparent explosion.

Both accounts edited their posts after Aric Toler, a journalist with the New York Times visual investigations team, questioned the time stamps on the video.

Those time stamps indicated that the video was recorded at least 40 minutes after the explosion at the hospital was first publicly reported, Toler said.

It was not clear if the video was removed from the Israeli accounts on X as a result of Toler’s analysis.

Both Israeli accounts kept the original text in their posts following the edit, which repeated the Israeli military’s previous statement that the strike on the hospital was the result of an off-course rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.

Many observers have highlighted parallels between Israel’s denial of the Al-Ahli Hospital bombing and its response to the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh last year.

After Israeli forces fatally shot Abu Akleh in May 2022, Israeli officials denied involvement in the incident and tried to blame it on armed Palestinians.

The office of then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett released a video showing a Palestinian firing a weapon down an alleyway, claiming the footage backed their theory.

“According to the information we have gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians – who were firing indiscriminately at the time – were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist,” the prime minister’s office said at the time.

The accompanying video was quickly debunked. Israel eventually admitted that one of its soldiers killed Abu Akleh but said the shooting was not intentional.

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