Hundreds killed in Gaza hospital explosion: live updates from 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.

The reported scale of the attack raised fears that the Gaza war 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 attack – against the Ahli Arab Hospital – 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.

In the past, rockets launched by Palestinian armed groups, including Islamic Jihad, 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. Abbas, however, will 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.

Egypt immediately blamed Israel for the attack and strongly condemned what it said were “deliberate attacks on civilian facilities and targets” by Israel.

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 Israeli-occupied 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.

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.

Lyad Zagout, a Gaza health official, said the hospital was filled with many displaced Gazans who fled their homes, believing it would be safe to stay there.

“Where should people go to protect their children from bombs?” she said over the phone.

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

Ahmed Hijazi, a journalist, was at a nearby hospital where he treated many of the first victims of the attack.

“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 is located in the Zeitoun neighborhood in the southern part of Gaza City and is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. It houses 80 beds, according to the diocese website, which describes He described it as “a haven of peace in the middle of one of the most conflictive 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; Aaron Boxerman in Jerusalem; Euan Ward in Beirut, Lebanon; and Yousur Al-Hlou and Iyad Abu Hweila.

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