Story by JOHN LEICESTER  •

An assessment by French military intelligence indicates the most likely cause of the deadly explosion at Gaza City’s Ahli Arab Hospital was a Palestinian rocket that carried an explosive charge of about 11 pounds and possibly misfired, a senior French military official said Friday.

Several rockets in the arsenal of the Palestinian militant group Hamas carry explosive charges of about that weight, including an Iranian-made rocket and another that is Palestinian-made, the intelligence official said.

None of the intelligence pointed to an Israeli strike, the official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity, but was cleared to discuss the assessment by French President Emmanuel Macron in what was described as an attempt to be transparent about the intelligence findings. The assessment was based on classified information, satellite imagery, intelligence shared by other countries and open-source information, the official said.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the Gaza-based militant group’s deadly Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel that killed some 1,400 people, mostly civilians. Israel has pounded Gaza with airstrikes in the days since, killing more than 4,100 Palestinians, with Gazan militant groups sending rockets into Israel.

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