Biden supports Israel after Gaza hospital explosion: News of the war between Israel and Hamas | ET REALITY

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Gaza health authorities said hundreds of people were killed in an explosion Tuesday at a Gaza City hospital where thousands of civilians had taken refuge, a staggering loss of civilian life that immediately enraged the region. Authorities blamed an Israeli airstrike, but the claim was disputed by the Israel Defense Forces, which blamed an errant rocket launched by an armed Palestinian faction.

In video clips verified by The New York Times, dozens of Palestinian bodies were filmed strewn across the courtyard of the Ahli Arab Hospital, some bloodied, charred, mangled or in pieces.

“There were so many bodies that I couldn’t even photograph,” said Ali Jadallah, an Anadolu Agency photographer who witnessed the arrival of some of the first victims at Al-Shifa Hospital, another nearby health center.

Early reports of the explosion and its attribution to Israel sparked unrest in parts of the Middle East and drew furious condemnation from Arab leaders.

The reported scale of the attack raised fears that the war between Israel and Hamas will soon expand to other fronts, including southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Lebanese militia, has already been exchanging fire with Israel in recent days. . The hospital explosion came a day after Iran warned that “multiple other fronts will be opened” if Israeli attacks continued killing civilians in Gaza.

Photographs distributed by news agencies showed groups of wounded and dead in the hospital. A spokeswoman for the Gaza Health Ministry, overseen by Hamas, the armed group that rules the Gaza Strip and led the recent terrorist attacks against Israel, said the death toll was expected to rise as bodies were removed. debris.

After a two-hour review, the Israeli military said the explosion was caused by a rocket fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an armed group in Gaza that participated in the terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7 that killed at least 1,400. people. The group later denied responsibility, and an Israeli government account deleted a video it had posted as evidence of the military’s claim.

In the past, rockets launched by Palestinian armed groups, including Islamic Jihad, have occasionally malfunction and attack civilian neighborhoods.

The hospital disaster will now overshadow President Biden’s visit on Wednesday to Israel and Jordan, where he will meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. However, after the hospital explosion, Abbas decided to leave Jordan for an emergency meeting with Palestinian officials, according to an aide, and it was unclear whether he would return in time for the meeting.

Biden’s visit was interpreted as a strong show of support for Israel, which is preparing to invade Gaza in response to Hamas terrorist attacks. But initial reports of an extremely high death toll at the hospital, along with an immediate and furious reaction from the Arab world, are likely to increase pressure on Biden to moderate Israel’s response.

The high death toll drew swift condemnation from Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, which had been involved in talks with the Biden administration about normalizing its relationship with Israel.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming the hospital disaster squarely on “the Israeli occupation forces,” calling it a “barbaric attack” that constituted a “flagrant violation of international law and norms.”

Egypt also immediately blamed Israel for the attack and strongly condemned what it called Israel’s “deliberate attacks on civilian facilities and targets.”

Schools and universities across Lebanon will remain closed on Wednesday following the hospital strike, the country’s education minister said in a statement.

Abbas declared three days of mourning throughout the West Bank for the victims of the attack, according to WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency. News of the devastating strike spread quickly among Palestinians and solidarity marches swept through several West Bank cities.

Video of what happened verified by The Times showed bodies scattered on the ground, surrounded by blankets, backpacks and mattresses. Hundreds of families had fled to the hospital seeking shelter after 11 days of Israeli attacks on other parts of Gaza.

In a video posted on social media, a woman runs through the rubble. “They bombed us,” she said as she filmed the flames. “Where am I supposed to go?”

Jadallah, the photographer who saw some of the first victims arrive at a nearby hospital for treatment, said the hospital quickly became overwhelmed.

“Suddenly, the wounded started arriving by the dozens, then by the hundreds,” Jadallah said in a voice message.

“There was no space for us and the doctors to be in the same place,” he added. “There was no room for the wounded.”

In a statement, Hamas described the attack as “a horrific massacre” and “a crime of genocide.” The group called on Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel, as well as the international community, to “gather together and take to the streets” following the attack.

Doctors Without Borders, an international medical aid group operating in Gaza, said one of its doctors, Ghassan Abu-Sitta, was working at the hospital during the attack.

“We were operating in the hospital, there was a loud explosion and the ceiling fell on the operating room,” Dr. Abu-Sitta said in a statement distributed by the group. “This is a massacre,” he added.

Two Palestinian children injured in the explosion at Ahli Arab hospital were transferred to another Gaza hospital, Al-Shifa, for treatment.Credit…Abed Khaled/Associated Press

Ahmed Hijazi, another journalist, said he witnessed the initial waves of victims arriving at the nearby hospital for treatment.

“I have never seen so many people in my life,” Hijazi said in a voicemail. “There is no space. There are hundreds of wounded. The martyrs are everywhere. There are so many that their bodies are now in the courtyard. The morgue freezer is full, the morgue extension is full and now they are storing the bodies in the area designated for journalists.”

The hospital, located in the Zeitoun neighborhood in the southern part of Gaza City, is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, which oversees Anglican worship in much of the Middle East. It houses 80 beds, according to the diocese’s website, which describes it as “a haven of peace in the middle of one of the most troubled places in the world.”

On Friday, Israel ordered the evacuation of northern Gaza, including hospitals. The order covered some 1.1 million people in the north, where Hamas is embedded.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said the Ahli Arab hospital was also attacked on Sunday. Damage from that attack appeared to be small and four hospital staff were injured, according to a declaration by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, condemned the attack and called for “immediate protection of civilians and medical care” in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

The report was contributed by Abu Bakr Bashir from London; Haley Willis in Berkeley, California; Euan Ward of Beirut, Lebanon; and Yousur Al-Hlou and Iyad Abu Hweila of Cairo.

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