Israel blamed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad for the Gaza hospital blast, a deadliest attack amid the ongoing war between Israel’s army and Hamas that started on October 7. Islamic Jihad denied the accusation. “The Zionist enemy is trying hard to evade its responsibility for the brutal massacre he committed by bombing the Baptist Arab National Hospital in Gaza through his usual fabrication of lies, and through pointing the finger of blame at the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Islamic Jihad is not Hamas but both fight against Israel. Its name cropped up in the ongoing conflict for the first time as Israel army cited intelligence inputs and said the hospital attack was a result of a failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad.
What is Islamic Jihad, a militant group?
Palestinian Islamic Jihad is an armed group based in Gaza. It is the second-largest armed group in Gaza.
Islamic Jihad was founded in the 1980s in the Gaza Strip to fight the Israeli occupation.
Islamic Jihad sometimes operates independently of Hamas. But according to reports, both receive funding and weapons from Iran.
Islamic Jihad, like Hamas, is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States.
According to an NTY report, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are the most important members of the joint operations room, which coordinates most military activity in Gaza. “But at times it is a tense relationship, especially when Hamas has exerted pressure on Islamic Jihad to stop attacks or retaliation against Israel,” the report said.
On the relationship between Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the NYT report said that on some occasions Hamas stayed on the sidelines and Islamic Jihad clashed with Israel. The two groups also joined forces in the past.
Gaza hospital attack: Here’s what happened
Gaza’s al-Ahli exploded on Tuesday night at a time when it was packed with patients, those who survive the ongoing war. Thousands of Palestinians families were camping outside the hospital. Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry blamed Israeli airstrikes. Israel denied involvement and blamed a misfired Palestinian rocket. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II announced they were pulling out of a planned Arab summit Wednesday with President Joe Biden. Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt and other Arab nations condemned the hospital attack, or declared days of national mourning. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared the hospital explosion “a clear violation of international law … and humanity.”
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