Hospitals in the Gaza Strip have come under attack, resulting in the loss of at least 500 lives. Hamas has alleged that the Israeli military conducted a raid on a hospital in the central Gaza Strip, claiming that at least 500 people were killed, but Tel Aviv has denied these allegations.
The media office of the Hamas government in Gaza has accused Israel of attacking the premises of Al-Ahli Hospital in the central Gaza Strip on the night of October 18, labeling the incident as a “war crime.”
ANALYSIS: New video shows rocket launches during the time the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza was destroyed. The video shows 1 rocket either being intercepted or failing followed by two explosions on the ground.
The second explosion appears to be at the hospital.
The IDF… pic.twitter.com/PRJe9Vhiaz
— Moshe Schwartz (@YWNReporter) October 17, 2023
Hamas officials stated, “At least 500 people were killed in the raid, with hundreds of victims trapped beneath the rubble.” Prior to this, the same group had reported the death toll to be between 200 and 300.
Footage from Al Jazeera shows medical personnel and civilians collecting bodies in the darkness using white bags or blankets. The hospital courtyard is stained with blood, and cars have been set on fire.
This hospital had been a refuge for many individuals displaced by the conflict in the Gaza Strip, as these facilities had rarely been targeted when the Israeli military responded to Hamas.
Surveillance camera footage from Netiv Haasara shows a large barrage of rockets being launched from northern Gaza, followed by a massive blast in the Strip, apparently caused by a failed projectile. pic.twitter.com/PdNCbks02r
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) October 17, 2023
Israel has vehemently denied the accusations that its military was responsible for the attack on Al-Ahli.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “The entire world should be aware that it was the brutal terrorists in Gaza who attacked the hospital, not the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). They brutally killed our children and their own children.”
An IDF spokesperson has cited analysis from the combat system, which indicates that a series of rockets launched by terrorists in the Gaza Strip passed over the vicinity of Al-Ahli at the time the hospital was hit. The Israeli military has attributed responsibility for the failed rocket launch to the extremist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which is an ally of Hamas.
The person went on to state, “We have intelligence from multiple sources proving that Islamic Jihad elements were responsible for the failed rocket launch that hit the hospital in Gaza.”
PIJ has dismissed Israel’s accusations, branding the information provided by the IDF as “lies.”
On October 18, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the incident as a “horrific war massacre” that cannot be forgiven. Abbas added, “Israel has crossed a red line, and we will not leave or permit anyone to expel us from the area.”
US President Joe Biden expressed his condolences for the loss of life in the incident and wished a speedy recovery to the injured. The White House intends to visit Israel today to demonstrate support for the country.
An Al Jazeera broadcast documented the moment that the Islamic Jihad launched a rocket which misfired and hit a hospital in Gaza, killing hundreds. pic.twitter.com/ypZTdJobzk
— Israel ישראל 🇮🇱 (@Israel) October 17, 2023
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, condemned the attack on the hospital, calling it an unacceptable act. Türk emphasized the need to protect civilians and enable humanitarian assistance to reach those in need.
European Council (EC) President Charles Michel remarked that attacks on civilian infrastructure violate international law. European Union (EU) foreign affairs official Josep Borrell commented that news of the attack on Al-Ahli Hospital “intensifies the horror of the tragedy that has unfolded before our eyes for many days.”
Various countries and organizations, including Russia, Britain, France, Egypt, and others, have also condemned the assault on Al-Ahli Hospital. Russia and the United Arab Emirates have called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on October 18.
The Israeli military has been conducting airstrikes on the Gaza Strip since October 7 in response to a sudden attack by Hamas on the same day. As of October 17, the conflict between the two sides has resulted in the deaths of approximately 4,400 people and left at least 16,000 injured.
Israel has placed the Gaza Strip under a comprehensive blockade, cutting off electricity, food, and fuel supplies. The Gaza Strip is home to 2.3 million Palestinians who rely on external aid delivered through Israeli territory. On October 13, Israel requested that 1.1 million civilians in the northern Gaza Strip evacuate to the south, as the IDF prepared to launch a military campaign in the area.