Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad on Wednesday described as “lies” the Israel army’s accusations that it was responsible for a strike on a Gaza hospital that left hundreds dead.
At least 200 people were killed in an air strike on a hospital compound that sheltered the wounded and displaced from Israeli bombing, local health officials said Tuesday, prompting global condemnation and fury.
The Hamas-run health ministry claimed that Israel was behind the attack on the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza but Israel’s military blamed a malfunctioning rocket fired by Islamic Jihad.
“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 Wednesday.
“We therefore affirm that the accusations put forward by the enemy are false and baseless,” it added.
According to the statement, the hospital had been ordered to evacuate by Israel under threat of bombardment, and it was a bomb dropped by an Israeli army plane that caused the tragedy.
It said the hospital had “received public notice made global of evacuation under threat of bombing.”
The Israeli army, for its part, said the hospital was hit by a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad Palestinian militants.
Spokesman Daniel Hagari told a press briefing that at the time of the strike, the Israeli army was not conducting air operations near the hospital and the rockets that hit the building did not match theirs.
He added that the army would also provide conversations in Arabic that indicate the strike was done by Islamic Jihad.