Israel and the Palestinians have blamed each other for the deadly attack on a Hospital in northern Gaza.
Hundreds of fatalities and injuries have been reported in a rocket explosion in Al Ahli Arab Hospital Tuesday night. The hospital was operational, with patients, health and care givers, and internally displaced people sheltering there.
The hospital was one of 20 in the north of the Gaza Strip facing evacuation orders from the Israeli military. The order for evacuation has been impossible to carry out given the current insecurity, critical condition of many patients, and lack of ambulances, staff, health system bed capacity, and alternative shelter for those displaced, according to the World Health Organization.
WHO called on Israel to reverse evacuation orders. “International humanitarian law must be abided by, which means health care must be actively protected and never targeted,” it said.
The tragic incident occurred just hours before U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in Israel. In his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden expressed doubt that the attack originated from Gaza itself.
“Based on what I’ve seen it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you. But there’s a lot of people out there who are not sure, so we’ve got to overcome a lot of things,” he told Netanyahu.
In a separate statement, Biden said he was “outraged and deeply saddened” by the explosion at the hospital in Gaza, and the loss of lives. “Immediately upon hearing this news, I spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and have directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened”.
Hamas and Palestinian authorities say 500 people were killed in an Israeli air strike targeting the hospital. Some other countries, mainly Arab, supported it.
The Israeli Defense Forces say the casualties were caused by a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad. It says its intelligence shows a rocket, fired by the Palestinian militant group from a cemetery, landed in the hospital car park.
Outraged by the incident, Jordan cancelled a summit between the leaders of the United States, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, which was scheduled for Wednesday.
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