IDF: Palestinian Casualties at Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, Al-Shati Camp From Terrorists’ Rockets Falling Short
by Dave Bender
The Israeli army said it was not operating in the vicinity of Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza on Monday, where an explosion reportedly killed and wounded dozens of Palestinians.
“A short while ago Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Shati Refugee Camp were struck by failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists,” the army said in a statement sent to reporters.
The failed attempt to fire the projectile apparently hit a car near the center, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News, causing the casualties.
The station said that a “Hamas Fajr-5 rocket aimed at central Israel, which was fired from a playground outside the Shifa hospital and exploded on the site causing casualties, had at least a 100 kg (220 lbs) warhead,” according to The Times of Israel.
Reporter Nir Devori of Channel 2 and analyst Ehud Yaari confirmed the carnage was most likely the result of a failed Fajr rocket launch — aimed at central Israel.
Palestinian reports are claiming at least seven dead and dozens wounded in a “failed rocket launch” by terrorists from the vicinity of the medical compound, according to Israeli Channel 1 reporter Yoram Cohen.”
Palestinian sources at the Al-Shati Refugee Camp, said an airstrike killed children, a claim the army denied.
In an earlier event, the Israeli army Sunday evening denied that it was responsible for the deaths of some 15 Palestinians in a United Nations Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) school in the northern Gaza Strip on July 24.
An “inquiry concluded that during the intense fighting between IDF forces and Hamas militants, the militants operated adjacent to the UNRWA school. The militants fired anti-tank missiles at IDF soldiers, who then responded by firing several mortars in their direction,” the army statement said.
“The inquiry… concluded that a single errant mortar landed in the courtyard of the UNRWA school, when it was completely empty.”
“The IDF stresses it does not operate or target international organizations in the Gaza Strip, and the ongoing coordination conducted via the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) is continuous without change, even during times of combat.”
“In light of the inquiry’s findings, the IDF rejects the claims that were made by various officials immediately following the incident, that people were killed in the school premises as a result of IDF operational activity,” the statement concluded.
The IDF has documented a significant percentage of Gaza rockets that fall short and strike within Gaza.
During the three weeks of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has been caught using hospitals, mosques and schools to hide militants and weapons, all of which are contrary to international rules of war created to protect civilians.
Additionally, some reporters trying to cover events in the coastal enclave say Hamas is limiting coverage and threatening them for reporting anything unflattering to the Islamist terrorist group.
Radjaa Abu Dagga, Gaza correspondent for France’s Libération, told the newspaper‘s readers on Tuesday how Hamas refused his requests to leave Gaza and how he was interrogated by Hamas members from their headquarters inside Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital.
Blogger Elder of Ziyon published a translation of his harrowing account on Thursday.
Posting a photo to Twitter of a Hamas spokesman being interviewed on camera, Nick Casey, The Wall Street Journal‘s Middle East Correspondent, wondered how patients there might feel about Hamas using the hospital as a “de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices,” as reported by The Washington Post last week.
On Monday, Casey wrote: “You have to wonder [with] the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.”