An aerial view of a parking lot outside of a Gaza hospital.


Parking lot pictures become flashpoint in accusations over Gaza hospital blast

Exact information on the strike has been hard to come by.


Mikael Thalen


An image of a hospital parking lot has become the latest focal point for the debate over the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

After the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City was rocked by a major explosion on Tuesday, blame has been tossed back and forth between Israel and Hamas.

Those who believe Israel was to blame cited the country’s demands that hospitals in Northern Gaza be evacuated just days prior as proof that the location was labeled as a target.

Palestinians have said that over 500 people were killed as a result, including scores of children. A plastic surgeon aiding the hospital at the time said that he saw “bodies of children piled up” after the explosion.

But those who believed Hamas was at fault cited a perceived lack of destruction at the hospital as evidence that an Israeli air strike wasn’t the cause. Particularly, an image appears to show that a nearby parking lot had taken the brunt of the damage.

The image has also led some to question the validity of the reported 500 casualties, such as media pundit and former intelligence worker Malcolm Nance.

“500 CASUALTIES? Was the parking lot of this hospital packed full of civilians? How did they lose ‘hundreds’ killed to this hit?” Nance questioned. “Even with blast effects, shrapnel, structural compromise most people using it as a shelter would have been behind concrete cover. It’s a tragedy no matter how you slice it but the numbers are sus.”

“I have been told a million times today that a hospital was leveled and took it at face value. Not even the IDF denied it! This photo—published by a Palestinian news service—does not seem to show that,” wrote another user.

Others quickly shot back, labeling the debate over the number of people who died as distasteful given the tragedy.

The incident is strikingly similar to when reports initially claimed last week that 40 Israeli babies had been beheaded by Hamas. Many likewise argued that the exact number of beheadings was irrelevant amid such a tragedy.

In response to the claims out of Palestine, Israel argued that the explosion at the hospital had instead been caused by a failed Hamas rocket. Israel has since released what it says is an intercepted phone conversation between two Hamas members admitting to the malfunction. Videos, including drone footage captured by Israel, also allege to show evidence that Hamas was to blame.

Reports about the specific number of casualties as well have not been verified.

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