Israel did not strike Gaza hospital, Canada says

Aftermath of hospital blast in Gaza City

By Divya Rajagopal and Jose Joseph

(Reuters) - Canada's National Department of Defence said on Saturday that Israel was not behind the Al-Ahli hospital strike in Gaza on Oct. 17.

"Analysis conducted independently by the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command indicates with a high degree of confidence that Israel did not strike the Al-Ahli hospital on 17 October 2023," it said in a statement.

The strike was more likely caused by an errant rocket fired from Gaza, the Defence department said based on analysis of open source and classified reporting.

Canada's findings are similar to conclusions by France and the U.S.

Canada said its assessment is informed by an analysis of the blast damage to the hospital complex, including adjacent buildings and the area surrounding the hospital, as well as the flight pattern of the incoming munition.

Palestinian officials said 471 people were killed in the blast at Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital on Tuesday. Gaza's health ministry blamed an Israeli air strike, while Israel said the blast was caused by a failed rocket launch by militants.

(Reporting by Jose Joseph in Bengaluru; Divya Rajagopal in Toronto; Editing by Sonali Paul)