According to data from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, there have been 471 reported deaths at Gaza City’s Al-Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital. Hamas accuses Israel of bombing the hospital on the evening of October 17. In contrast, Israel denies responsibility and attributes the incident to a failed rocket explosion by the Islamic Jihad. Israel has released aerial images showing the situation ‘before and after the failed launch,’ indicating the absence of Israeli jets near the hospital. An audio recording has also been circulated, in which two Hamas members attribute the incident to the Jihad.
The international community has reacted strongly, with the Arab world and Palestinian President Abu Mazen canceling a scheduled meeting with Joe Biden in Amman. They have also declared a three-day national mourning period in the West Bank.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has called for establishing responsibility.
While in Israel, President Biden expressed outrage and sadness. Later, in a conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, he suggested that the explosion may have been caused by another party. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Guterres has called for an immediate ceasefire for humanitarian reasons.
Attack on the Gaza Hospital. Hamas blames the US for the responsibility
Hamas blames the United States for the hospital massacre, asserting that it highlights the cruelty of Israel. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader, has called upon Palestinians in the occupied territories to resist Israeli occupation. He has accused the United States of enabling Israeli aggression through their support.
Israel: “It was Gaza terrorists”
On the evening of October 17th, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that it was barbaric terrorists responsible for the attack on the Gaza hospital. He made it clear that the Israeli army was not involved in this heinous act. He further emphasized that those who callously took the lives of our children also bring harm to their own people. This morning, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari reiterated that a faulty rocket, launched by the Islamic Jihad from a nearby cemetery at 6:59 PM the day before, was to blame. In addition, Israel possesses a recording of a conversation among Hamas members, confirming the launch of a defective rocket. The spokesperson clarified that although the hospital building itself was not directly hit, damage and evidence of a fire were discovered in the external parking area.
International condemnation and protests follow hospital assault – PLO calls for intervention
After the assault on the hospital, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has once again appealed to the international community to intervene and stop the ongoing massacre. The Israeli bombing was condemned by Egypt, with Iran calling it a brutal war crime and genocide. Jordan held the Israeli state accountable for these alarming developments. A demonstration took place in Amman, where protestors stormed the Israeli embassy and set fire to its exterior walls. Additionally, Al Jazeera reported that hundreds of Palestinians in Nablus, Tulkarem, and Jenin took to the streets in protest.