Days after the news of an explosion at Gaza’s Al Ahli hospital broke out, an unverified Facebook page, جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي بالعربية • XY הגנה לישראל בערבית (Translation: Israel Defense Forces in Arabic) carrying the blue-and-white logo of the IDF spokespersons’ office posted in Arabic, “Due to the lack of medical equipment and the lack of medical staff, it was decided to bomb the Baptist Hospital in Gaza and give them euthanasia death.” The Facebook post appears to be an admission of responsibility by Israeli officials for bombing the hospital in Gaza. The Facebook page has now been deleted.
Several social media users subsequently shared a screenshot of the Facebook post, claiming that Israel confirmed that it had bombed the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. A verified user on X (formerly Twitter) named Syrian Girl (@Partisangirl) shared the screenshot with the caption, “Israeli official facebook post: “Due to the lack of medical equipment and the lack of medical staff, it was decided to bomb the Baptist Hospital in Gaza and give them euthanasia.” The tweet has received over 94,400 views, 1,808 likes and 1,113 retweets. The account’s user claims to be a journalist, think-tank analyst and scientist. (Archive)
Israeli official facebook post: “Due to the lack of medical equipment and the lack of medical staff, it was decided to bomb the Baptist Hospital in Gaza and give them euthanasia.” pic.twitter.com/H4IGJ6v7Px
— Syrian Girl 🇸🇾🎗 (@Partisangirl) October 18, 2023
A verified page on X, @IranObserver0, also shared the picture with the caption, “The IDF in Arabic: Due to the lack of medical equipment and the lack of medical staff, it was decided to bomb the Baptist Hospital in Gaza and give them euthanasia death.” The tweet received over 81,800 views, 912 likes and 482 retweets. (Archive)
The IDF in Arabic:
Due to the lack of medical equipment and the lack of medical staff, it was decided to bomb the Baptist Hospital in Gaza and give them euthanasia death. pic.twitter.com/jRajfYjh63
— Iran Observer (@IranObserver0) October 17, 2023
The screenshot also went viral on Facebook. Journalist, Tarek Bae (@Tarek_Bae) and podcast host at MintPress News, Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline), also shared the screenshot on Twitter which they later deleted.
As soon as the claim went viral, the media in-charge of IDF Arabic, Avichay Adraee, denied having issued any statement or comment regarding the explosion at the Gazan hospital. Accusing Hamas, Adraee made a clarification post on X with the caption, “#عاجل Just to clarify: I did not issue any statement or comment regarding the Baptist Hospital in Gaza. All the news circulating in my name comes from the Hamas media outlets and is completely false.” (Archive)
#عاجل فقط للتوضيح: لم يصدر عني أي تصريح أو أي تعليق بخصوص مستشفى المعمداني في غزة. كل الاخبار المتداولة باسمي تصدر عن أبواب حماس الاعلامية وهي عارية عن الصحة تمامًا
— افيخاي ادرعي (@AvichayAdraee) October 17, 2023
Moreover, a key-word search on Google, led us to a report by The Washington Post, titled, ‘After blast kills hundreds at Gaza hospital, Hamas and Israel trade blame as rage spreads in region‘ which states, “Hamas called Tuesday’s hospital blast “a horrific massacre,” saying it was caused by an Israeli strike. The Israeli military blamed Islamic Jihad, a smaller, more radical Palestinian militant group that often works with Hamas. The military said Islamic Jihad militants had fired a barrage of rockets near the hospital and that “intelligence from multiple sources” indicated the group was responsible.” Hence, it is clear that the IDF officials did not issue any statement regarding admitting responsibility for the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. While new evidence from investigations continues to emerge, it is unclear as to who is responsible for the hospital blast.
In a video report by DW News titled ‘Israel Defense Forces blame ‘Islamic Jihad’ for Gaza hospital blast’ chief IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari says at the 2:19 mark, “We cross-checked the evidence which we are sharing with you, confirms that the explosion of the Al Ahli Mahadani Hospital in Gaza was caused by the Islamic Jihad rocket which was misfired.”
Moreover, IDF has its official social media pages in English, Hebrew and Farsi. All three pages carry the IDF’s official logo in golden colour which shows the Star of David behind a sword that is wrapped in an olive branch with the text ‘Israel Defense Forces’ written underneath. None of the pages contains the official white and blue logo of the IDF Spokespersons Unit which was used by the fake Facebook page, as mentioned earlier.
To sum up, a fake Facebook page falsely claiming to be the official page of the Israel Defense Forces issued a statement claiming that the IDF had admitted responsibility for the explosion at Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. The Facebook page was later deleted. Our fact-check revealed that the IDF had not issued any such statement.
Abira Das is an intern at Alt News.
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