Gaza Hospital Explosion
US officials said yesterday a Tuesday explosion at a Gaza hospital was likely caused by a rocket launched from the nearby area. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has claimed an Israeli airstrike hit the building that housed hundreds of civilians at the time. The Gaza Health Ministry said at least 471 people had died.
Experts said images and videos posted online were inconsistent with a strike, including the lack of a blast crater. US officials said infrared satellite imagery showed a projectile fired from within Gaza, while Israel said it intercepted Hamas communications blaming an allied group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (see overview).
Separately, Israel said it would allow humanitarian aid to pass into Gaza from Egypt. The decision comes as a nearly complete blockade implemented by Israel entered its 10th day. Israeli officials say the blockade is necessary to force Hamas to release as many as 199 hostages, whose current fate is unknown.