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Islamic Jihad appears to admit hospital blast in video: “It’s from us?”

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have released audio they say is of a conversation between Hamas militants realizing that Palestinians were behind the blasts at the hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds of people.

Palestinian officials have blamed Israel for the air strike on the Al-Ahli al–Arabi hospital on Tuesday that killed 500. But Israel has blamed the blast on a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, an armed group in Gaza aligned with Hamas, whose militants attacked Israel on October 7.

Before the strike on the hospital, at least 2,778 people had been killed in Gaza, according to the Associated Press, citing the Gaza Health Ministry. More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, the AP reported.

The audio shared by the IDF on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday, contains a call between two men it calls Hamas operatives one and two, discussing the strike. They are seemingly in disbelief that the blasts could have come from their own side.

“I’m telling you, this is the first time that we have seen a missile like this falling and so that’s why we are saying it belongs the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” said one man.

The other responds, “what?” with the first continuing, “they are saying it belongs to Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” according to the English captions of the conversation. “It’s from us?” the first said, “it looks like it,” responds the second.

“Who says this?” says the first, with the second replying that shrapnel from the missile “is local shrapnel and not like Israeli shrapnel.”

“What are you saying?” one says as the other explains that the missile had been shot from the cemetery from behind the hospital “and it misfired and fell on them.”

Newsweek was unable to independently verify the audio.

Earlier on Wednesday, the IDF released aerial footage of the hospital site before and after the blast which it said showed that Israel could not have been responsible, referring to how there was no crater which would normally accompany an Israeli Air Force (IAF) strike.

As Palestinian and Israeli officials continue to blame each other for the incident, U.S. President Joe Biden said that the strike was not caused by Israel after arriving in the country on Wednesday morning.

Speaking at a Tel Aviv press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning, Biden said he was “deeply saddened and outraged” by the explosion.

“Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” he said, although admitting many people were “not sure.”

Biden’s trip to the Middle East was supposed to calm the region but after the hospital blast, Jordan cancelled a planned summit in Amman with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

A damaged vehicle belonging to the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza after a blast on October 18, 2023. Israel Defense Forces have released audio it said was of Hamas militants realizing that the blast had been caused by Islamic Jihad.
MAHMUD HAMS/Getty Images

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