The New York Times apologizes for its coverage of the Gaza hospital explosion

The news outlet initially published Hamas’ account of the events, blaming Israel, despite the fact that the Israeli government denied its involvement in the attack.

The New York Times published an editorial Monday to retract to its statements from the previous week in which it attributed the Al-Ahli hospital explosion to the Israeli armed forces. The new editor’s note admits that the media outlet favored the version of the story provided by Hamas and that the truth was thus manipulated for readers.

The New York Times published on all its platforms, websites and social media accounts, that the explosion at the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza was the result of an attack by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), something that was not immediately clear nor could be verified.

Hamas and its related groups initially said they had no part in the explosion that left hundreds dead in a Gaza hospital. The IDF published a statement assuring that it would clarify the details surrounding the event. Shortly after, they argued that it was not the result of an Air Force attack and that the explosion in the hospital was caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket that, due to an error, fell in Gaza City instead of continuing on its course towards Israel.

The early versions of the coverage — and the prominence it received in a headline, news alert and social media channels — relied too heavily on claims by Hamas, and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified. The report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was.

Independent analysts supported the Israeli version. Videos from the I24 network showed a flurry of rockets being launched from Gaza just a moment before the explosion occurred. The incident was also accompanied by a large fiery explosion, something that, if it had been an Israeli guided missile, would not have occurred.

Although Israel denied responsibility for the incident, The New York Times took several hours to correct its content, and even after this it maintained an ambiguous and distant position. Later, during President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, the United States supported the Israeli version based on data from the intelligence services. The United Kingdom is another country that also believes Israel’s is not responsible for the attack on the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza.