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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Canada and France: Unlikely that Israel was behind blast at Gaza hospital

By Matthew Rosenberg

Canadian and French national security officials have said an errant rocket fired from within Gaza, not an Israeli airstrike, most likely caused last week’s deadly blast at a hospital in the Gaza Strip, echoing statements by U.S. and Israeli officials made in the immediate aftermath of the explosion.

Although many in the Middle East and beyond still blame Israel for Tuesday’s explosion at al-Ahli hospital, the Canadian and French statements — both made in the past two days — add to the growing Western consensus that Palestinian militants were most likely responsible. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza has said the explosion killed hundreds of people.

“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,” Canada’s National Department of Defense said in a statement Saturday. It added that the hospital was most likely struck by a rocket fired from within Gaza, citing open source and classified reporting.

A day earlier, France’s military intelligence directorate made similar statements to reporters, The Associated Press and Reuters reported.

“There is nothing that allows us to say that it is an Israeli strike,” the directorate said, according to Reuters. The blast crater appeared too small to have been caused by an Israeli missile and “the most likely hypothesis is a Palestinian rocket,” according to the directorate. It added that the explosive charge was about 5 kilograms (11 pounds) — a size that matches rockets known to be used by Palestinian militants.

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