Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Rishi Sunak has said the explosion at a hospital in Gaza was “likely caused” by a missile launched from within the territory and towards Israel.

The prime minister said the government had come to the conclusion “on the basis of the deep knowledge and analysis of our intelligence and weapons experts”.

It means the UK is in agreement with the US, where officials said the information gathered so far indicated Israel was “not responsible” for the blast.

In his statement to the Commons, Mr Sunak said: “As I indicated last week, we have taken care to look at all the evidence currently available.

“I can now share our assessment with the House. On the basis of the deep knowledge and analysis of our intelligence and weapons experts, the British government judges that the explosion was likely caused by a missile or part of one that was launched from within Gaza towards Israel.

“The misreporting of this incident had a negative effect in the region, including on a vital US diplomatic effort, and the tensions here at home.”

US President Joe Biden said he was “sad and outraged” by the strike at al Ahli hospital last week, which Hamas said killed up to 500 people – triggering worldwide protests.

Hamas called the explosion a “crime of genocide” and blamed it on Israel.

Israel has denied any involvement and said the blast was caused by a misfired rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group – an Islamist militant group based in Gaza which is smaller than Hamas but shares a similar ideology.

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