Ottawa has confirmed that Israel did not strike the al-Ahli Hospital in the Gaza Strip following an independent review by the military.
In a statement October 21 by Defence Minister Bill Blair, the federal government contends an “errant rocket” fired within Gaza is the likely culprit, costing over 500 Palestinians their lives.
The statement — issued with a “high degree of confidence” — follows remarks from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau October 19 that said his government would take “all necessary steps” to learn what caused the fatal explosion.
As reported by CTV News, the prime minister asked the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command to review the incident.
"This assessment is informed by an analysis of the blast damage to the hospital complex, including adjacent buildings and the area surrounding the hospital, as well as the flight pattern of the incoming munition," reads a written statement from the Department of National Defence (DND).
The U.S. corroborated their findings, they said, as did France, according to The Associated Press on Friday.
When the explosion first occurred October 17, Trudeau and members of his Cabinet implied that Israel caused the unwarranted blast.
“The news coming out of Gaza is horrific and absolutely unacceptable […] International humanitarian and international law needs to be respected in this, and in all cases. There are rules around wars and it’s not acceptable to hit a hospital,” said the prime minister.
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne also chimed in on the incident that swept international headlines.
“Bombing a hospital is an unthinkable act, and there is no doubt that doing so is absolutely illegal,” said Joly.
Both Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza must respect international humanitarian law, she said.
“Even in times of crisis, there are principles. Even in times of war, there are rules. Palestinians and Israeli civilians are equal and both must be protected.”
“The attack on the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza is horrifying and against international humanitarian law,” claimed Champagne. “There can be no justification to strike a hospital nor civilians,” he added.
At least 5,087 people have died in Gaza since the devastating terrorist attack on October 7 that killed more than 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals from 41 countries.
The Israel Defence Force (IDF) is preparing for a ground assault of Gaza in a bid to quash Hamas, a designated terrorist organization.
Following the October 17 blast, Hamas charged Israel for the ensuing death and destruction at al-Ahli Hospital. The Jewish state subsequently released images they claimed had proven their innocence in the incident.
In addition, Israel has softened its stance by permitting humanitarian assistance to enter the Gaza Strip along the region’s border crossing with Egypt.
Canada, who already pledged $10 million to the war-ravaged area — that is home to more than 2.3 million Palestinians — committed $50 million more on Saturday in food, water, and medical aid.
International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen tried to assure Canadians that none of the money would go to Hamas.
“The critical and immediate needs of civilians affected by the crisis become clearer with each day that goes by,” he said in a written statement.
“As Canada's partners make their growing needs known, this new assistance will allow us to provide them funding quickly so they can scale up their efforts to help people in urgent need.”