IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari is giving a press briefing on the matter of the Islamic Jihad terror organization's failed rocket launch, which hit a hospital in Gaza, killing dozens.
In the briefing, Hagari presented to the foreign media a conversation between terrorists in Gaza about the explosion in the hospital, in which they admit that it was a failed missile launch.
He also presented Hamas operator communications which showed that Hamas operators discussed plans for bombing the hospital.
"The IDF has concluded an After Action Review and can confirm that the Islamic Jihad was responsible for the strike on the hospital in Gaza city," Hagari said. "We did an immediate review with all relevant branches of the IDF."
"This is what took place on Tuesday October 17th: At 6:15PM, a barrage of rockets was fired by Hamas at Israel. At 6:59PM a barrage of around 10 rockets was fired by Islamic Jihad from a nearby cemetery.
It was at the time, 6:59PM — when there were reports of an explosion at the hospital in Gaza City."
"According to our intelligence, Hamas checked the reports, understood it was an Islamic Jihad rocket that had misfired — and decided to launch a global media campaign to hide what really happened.They went as far as inflating the number of casualties.
"They understood, with absolute certainty, that it was a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad — that damaged the hospital.
"Analysis of our aerial footage confirms that there was no direct hit of the hospital itself. The only location damaged, is outside the hospital in the parking lot where we can see signs of burning, no cratering and no structural damage to nearby buildings."
Hagari stressed that this is in contradiction to "the damage caused by any aerial munition, which would have been of a different nature: We would have seen craters and structural damage to buildings,both of which haven’t been identified in this incident."
"The size of the damage we see here is due to the warhead of the Islamic Jihad rocket, but most of the rocket's propellent is still evident due to the short flight of the rocket (because the launch failed).
"The following visual evidence shows infrared imagery of the parking lot. You can see central locations of fires and some debris on the rooftops. No craters can be identified. And all walls of the surrounding buildings are intact.
"We also have examples of what air-to-ground munition craters look like. As you can see, they do not exist in this instance. Many media outlets immediately reported the unverified claims by Hamas. Those were lies spread by Hamas.
"I want to make something clear: It is impossible to know what happened as quickly as Hamas claimed they knew. That should have been an initial warning sign for many.
"Unlike Hamas, the IDF launched an immediate examination, which was overseen at the very highest levels of command. This professional review was based on intelligence, operational systems, and aerial footage, all of which we cross-checked.
"The evidence — which we are sharing with you all — confirms that the explosion at the hospital in Gaza was caused by an Islamic Jihad rocket that misfired."
Hagari then explained the the four main parts of our examination process: "First, we confirmed that there was no IDF fire – by land, sea or air – that hit the hospital. Second, our radar systems tracked rockets fired by terrorists from within Gaza at the time of the explosion. The trajectory analysis from the barrage of rockets, confirms that the rockets were fired in close proximity to the hospital."
"In addition, there are two independent videos which show the failure of the rocket launch and the continuation of the rocket flight towards the ground, within the Gaza strip — falling in the hospital compound.
"Third, we have intelligence — some that will be shared here — of communication between terrorists talking about the rocket misfiring. The terrorists realized that a rocket had misfired and made specific reference to the hospital.
"We have cross-checked this intercept with other intelligence sources to confirm its accuracy.
"It is common for rockets that are fired at Israel, to land short and fall inside Gaza. These rockets fall short of Israel and have caused Palestinian casualties. During this war, we have counted approximately 450 rockets that misfired and fell inside Gaza. Palestinian civilians pay the price.
"We are also sharing this information with our partners, first and foremost the United States. We want maximum transparency, because we take any incident involving civilians very seriously. Unfortunately, many in the media — immediately reported the statements coming out of Hamas- controlled Gaza, which blamed Israel.
"Instead of waiting for the examination of credible information from the IDF, some media outlets ran with Hamas’ lies. Some of those headlines are still up and have not been corrected.
"I understand the desire to break news, but I hope you will all agree that accuracy and credible information comes before speed," Hagari stressed, emphasizing that, "The IDF acts in accordance with international law."
"In conclusion, this incident shows how allegations — in this case, false and baseless allegations made by terrorists — against Israel can spread and inflame tensions in the region."