NATIONAL NEWS

US currently assesses that Israel is ‘not responsible’ for Gaza hospital blast

Oct 18, 2023, 9:47 AM

This view shows the aftermath of the deadly blast that struck Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City...

This view shows the aftermath of the deadly blast that struck Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, on Wednesday, October 18. Mandatory Credit: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu/Getty Images

(CNN) — The US government currently believes that Israel “is not responsible” for the blast at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, according to the National Security Council, following President Joe Biden’s comments that a Palestinian militant group was behind the strike.

A spokesperson for the NSC, Adrienne Watson, said the assessment is based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open-source information.

“While we continue to collect information, our current assessment, based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open-source information, is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday,” Watson said in a statement on Wednesday.

Officials told CNN separately that the initial evidence gathered by the US intelligence community suggests that the hospital strike came from a rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.

Among the evidence that’s been gathered is a blast analysis that suggests it was a ground explosion rather than an airstrike that hit the hospital, one of the sources said. There was no singular crater suggesting there was a bomb, but there was extensive fire damage and scattered debris that is consistent with an explosion starting from the ground level, according to the source.

That analysis is one datapoint that’s led intelligence officials to lean toward assessing that the attack on the hospital was a rocket launch gone wrong.

Still, the blast analysis is just one of the things being examined by the intelligence community, which has surged intelligence collection assets to the region. US intelligence officials have not made a final assessment and are still gathering evidence, the officials said.

Not long after landing in Israel on Wednesday, Biden weighed in on who was behind the strike on the hospital. “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his arrival in Israel on Wednesday.

Biden was later asked what made him confident the Israelis weren’t behind the hospital strike.

“The data I was shown by my Defense Department,” he said.

In his remarks later on Wednesday, Biden reiterated that based on the information the US has seen, the blast appears to have been “the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza.”

“The Palestinian people are suffering greatly as well – we mourn the loss of innocent Palestinian lives,” he said. “Like the entire world, I was outraged and saddened by the enormous loss of life yesterday in the hospital in Gaza. Based on the information we’ve seen to date, it appears the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza. The United States unequivocally stands for the protection of civilian life during conflict, and I grieve, I truly grieve for the families were killed or wounded by this tragedy.”

Authorities in Gaza have said Israel was behind the deadly blast at the hospital, while the Israel Defense Forces said its intelligence showed a “failed rocket launch” by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group was responsible for the explosion.

An IDF spokesman said Wednesday that imagery following the blast showed “no cratering and no structural damage to nearby buildings.”

“There are no craters here. The walls stay intact. This shows is it not an aerial munition that hit the parking lot” of the hospital, IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said at a news conference Wednesday. “Analysis of our aerial footage confirms that there was no direct hit of the hospital itself. The only location damaged is outside the hospital in the parking lot where we can see signs of burning.”

The US intelligence community has been reviewing different kinds of intelligence to try to reach an assessment, including overhead imagery as well as the blast analysis, the officials said.

“I believe the US intelligence community likely has enough imagery, communications intercepts, and other data to determine where the projectile originated that stuck in the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital and what the original statements of people on the ground were as to what they believed happened,” said Mick Mulroy, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East and retired CIA officer.

“In addition, from the video released publicly, the explosion is consistent with a rocket that still had a lot of rocket fuel at the time of impact,” Mulroy added.

Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a CNN national security and military analyst, said the US military has overhead platforms from satellites that see “a missile burn when it takes off or when something explodes and comes out of the sky.”

The imagery released by the Israeli military of the explosion site was also “compelling,” Hertling said.

“It is very compelling, but when you also look at that aftermath, where’s the crater? When you’re talking about a crater from an Israeli bomb, there’s going to be a hole there,” he said.


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE  -A Ford Bronco is displayed at a Gus Machado Ford dealership on Jan. 23, 2023, in Hialeah, Fl...

Wyatt Grantham-Phillips

Ford recalls over 456,000 Bronco Sport and Maverick cars due to loss of drive power risk

Ford is recalling more than 456,000 Bronco Sport and Maverick vehicles due to a battery detection issue that can result in loss of drive power, increasing crash risks.

3 hours ago

Melatonin use can be especially dangerous in children and should only be used after consulting a pe...

Sandee LaMotte

Melatonin industry asked to voluntarily tighten standards after dramatic rise in childhood ER visits

A March 2024 report from the CDC discovered some 11,000 children had been seen in emergency rooms between 2019 and 2022 after ingesting melatonin while unsupervised.

3 hours ago

FILE - An Alaska Airlines aircraft sits in the airline's hangar at Seattle-Tacoma International Air...

Associated Press

Alaska Airlines briefly grounds flights due to technical issue

Alaska Airlines briefly grounded all flights Wednesday due to a technical issue.

3 hours ago

In this handout photo provided by Disneyland Resort, a view of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland...

Amy Taxin

Southern California city council gives a key approval for Disneyland expansion plan

Disney has received a key approval to expand its theme park offerings in California as it seeks to build new, immersive lands for visitors.

3 hours ago

FILE - Bonneville International was recognized on Tuesday for its fundraising efforts during and af...

Mark Jones

Bonneville International recognized for its ‘Maui Strong’ fundraising efforts

Bonneville International has been recognized with the National Association of Broadcasters Service to America Award for its "Maui Strong" fundraising campaign, as announced Tuesday.

20 hours ago

FILE - MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell talks to reporters at the Republican National Committe...

Steve Karnowski, Associated Press

Supreme Court won’t hear Mike Lindell’s challenge over FBI seizure of cellphone

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition by MyPillow founder and election denier Mike Lindell to consider his challenge to the legality of the FBI’s seizure of his cellphone at a Minnesota restaurant drive-through.

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

US currently assesses that Israel is ‘not responsible’ for Gaza hospital blast