An errant rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists led to the deaths of several hundred people at the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital in Gaza on Tuesday night, U.S. President Joe Biden said.
The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry claimed that 471 people were killed in the blast, although this has not been independently verified. The blast followed the launch of a rocket by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group after which it went out of control and reportedly hit the hospital.
Images revealed Wednesday that the rocket had landed in a parking lot near the hospital and that only parked cars had been incinerated. Analysts who reviewed the evidence panned it as disinformation on the part of the terrorists, noting that the damage was inconsistent with an airstrike. A deep crater characteristic of an American JDAM bomb was not present at the hospital site.
Biden: Palestinians Responsible for Attack
“Based on the information we have seen today, it appears the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza,” Biden said.
The incident triggered mass riots across the Islamic world and protests in the U.S. and Europe. Hezbollah rioters attempted to storm the U.S. embassy in Beirut. In Turkey, rioters attempted to storm an airbase where American troops are stationed. In Iraq, rioters approached the U.S. Embassy compound.
Biden went on to say, “It’s that old thing: Gotta learn how to shoot straight … It’s not the first time that Hamas has launched something that didn’t function very well.”
The blast forced Biden to scrub a planned summit with Arab leaders.
“I don’t know all the details, but I do know the people at the Defense Department who I respect and the intelligence community that I respect, say it is highly improbable that Israel did that,” Biden said on Air Force One.
The National Security Council shared Biden’s assessment based on overhead imagery.
Tlaib Blames Israel
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who previously dodged reporter questions about the Hamas butchery of 1,300 Israelis, sobbed during a rally in the wake of the explosion, saying that she was upset by the images of children.
“If we are not crying something is wrong,” Tlaib said. “President Biden, not all of America is on you with this one, and you need to wake up and understand that. We are literally watching people commit genocide and killing a vast majority just like this.”
Tlaib blamed Israel for the blast in a post on X.
“Israel just bombed the Baptist Hospital killing 500 Palestinians (doctors, children, patients) just like that,” Tlaib said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “[Biden,] this is what happens when you refuse to facilitate a ceasefire & help de-escalate.”
Fetterman Denounces Anti-Israel Colleagues
Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. John Fetterman condemned his Democratic colleagues for their rush to judgment.
“It’s truly disturbing that Members of Congress rushed to blame Israel for the hospital tragedy in Gaza,” Fetterman said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “Who would take the word of a group that just massacred innocent Israeli civilians over our key ally?”
Generational Shift on Israel
These conflicting views show the growing divide in the Democratic Party over Israel between older Democrats who are more likely to support Israel versus younger Democrats who support the Palestinians.
“There’s a real generational split on this question,″ Democratic pollster Jay Campbell told CNBC. “Younger Democrats have increased their sympathies on both sides of the ledger to a certain degree, whereas Democrats over age 50 are really much more in support of Israel than Palestinians at this point in time.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.