The explosion at a hospital in Gaza was not the result of an Israeli rocket attack but was likely caused by a failed Palestinian rocket, French Military Intelligence (DRM) said on Friday.
Palestinian officials said 471 people were killed in the explosion at Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital on Tuesday. Gaza’s health ministry blamed an Israeli airstrike, while Israel said the blast was caused by a failed rocket launch by militants.
“There is nothing that allows us to say that it is an Israeli attack, but the most likely scenario is a Palestinian rocket that had a firing incident,” the DRM said.
An unclassified US intelligence report seen by Reuters on Thursday said it assessed Israel was not responsible for the blast and put the death toll at 100 to 300 people.
According to the DRM, the impact crater was too small to have been caused by an Israeli missile.
“The most likely hypothesis is a Palestinian rocket, which exploded with a payload of about 5 kilos,” the DRM told reporters, adding that Palestinian groups had small-caliber rockets with that kind of explosive payload.
The DRM does not normally release such information, but decided to make its findings public on the instructions of President Emmanuel Macron, given the conflicting stories about who is responsible.
It ruled out several possibilities, including fragments of Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system or intercepted missiles as the cause.
Some of the analysis was based on open source material, ranging from the minor structural damage to the hospital, including some broken windows, some destroyed vehicles and the relatively limited presence of civilian property at the site of the explosion.
The DRM could not provide the exact point of origin of the failed missile and did not place blame on any specific group.
It declined to estimate the death toll but said it was likely to be less than 471 given the impact.
Israel has responded to an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas gunmen that killed 1,400 Israelis by vowing to destroy the group, putting the 2.3 million people living in Gaza under fire. Strikes against the enclave have killed more than 4,100 people and left more than a million homeless.
Israel is also preparing a ground offensive.
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