Officials cautioned that analysis is preliminary and that the United States was continuing to collect and analyze evidence.
“The point is, is that I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion of the hospital in Gaza yesterday, and based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” President Biden told Netanyahu after his arrival in Israel on Wednesday.
American officials say they have multiple strands of intelligence — including infrared satellite data — indicating that the deadly blast at a Gaza hospital on Tuesday was caused by an armed Palestinian group.
The intelligence includes satellite and other infrared data showing a launch of a rocket or missile from Palestinian fighter positions within Gaza. American intelligence agencies have also analyzed open-source video of the launch showing that it did not come from the direction of Israeli military positions, the officials said. Israeli officials have also provided the United States with intercepts of Hamas officials saying the strike came from forces aligned with Palestinian militant groups.
“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,” said Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, Israel’s chief military spokesman, told a news conference that there had been no Israeli strike in the hospital area. Hagari shared what he said was an intercepted conversation between two unidentified Hamas operatives saying the rocket was fired by militants from a cemetery near the hospital.
Hagari said the blast took place in the parking lot of the hospital and that the hospital building itself didn’t suffer structural damage. He shared a photo of the burned-out parking lot, saying there was no deep crater at the site of the blast to indicate an aerial strike. Hagari said the rocket’s residual propellant—fuel that boosts the rocket toward its destination—explains why the explosion was so powerful.
“Islamic Jihad caused the casualties in the hospital,” said Hagari. “We want the maximum transparency because we take any incident involving civilians very, very seriously.” A shallow crater in a parking lot, which appears in a video of the site on Wednesday, was cited by Israel as evidence that the blast wasn’t an airstrike.