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Rocket Strike Hits Gaza Hospital, Hundreds of Palestinians Killed

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Gaza Hospital Rocket Strike

A rocket strike late on Tuesday hit a hospital in Gaza, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, according to the Hamas-led Gaza health ministry. The incident has sparked condemnation from world leaders and protests across Arab and Muslim countries. However, both Israel and Palestinian militant groups have traded blame for the strike.

The health ministry in Gaza reported that an Israeli air strike hit the Christian-run Ahli Arab Hospital in central Gaza City at around 1700 GMT on Tuesday. Israel denied responsibility for the attack, instead attributing it to a misfired rocket aimed at Israeli territory by the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad from inside Gaza near the hospital.

The Gaza health ministry stated that at least 471 people had been killed, with over 300 wounded, some in critical condition. AFP correspondents witnessed dozens of bodies at the scene, with medics and civilians recovering them and wrapping them in white cloth, blankets, or black plastic bags. The hospital courtyard showed bloodstains and torched cars.

Images of the hospital after the strike, published by the Maxar satellite monitoring group, indicated that the main buildings remained intact. Maxar stated that their images revealed a “probable discoloured blast area in the main parking area of the hospital compound” with no significant structural damage to the adjacent buildings.

Violence in the region has escalated since Hamas militants stormed out of Gaza and into southern Israel on October 7, killing over 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials. The death toll in the Gaza Strip, including the hospital strike, and Israel’s subsequent reprisals, has reached at least 3,478 people.

Despite Hamas immediately blaming an Israeli air strike, the Israeli army claimed that another Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad, was responsible for causing the explosion with a misfired rocket. The Israeli military spokesman, Daniel Hagari, provided evidence and stated that the rockets were fired in close proximity to the hospital.

Islamic Jihad refuted Israel’s allegations, accusing them of trying to evade responsibility for the deaths. Meanwhile, Hamas held Israel directly responsible for the “horrific massacre.” Israel denied that the explosion was caused by its Iron Dome missile defense system, which is designed to protect Israeli territory from Gaza rocket attacks.

US President Joe Biden, during a trip to Israel, expressed his deep sadness and outrage over the hospital explosion, backing Israel’s account. However, Hamas accused the US government of being complicit in the occupation’s massacres. Arab countries and the wider Muslim world, including Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, condemned Israel for the strike, prompting thousands of protesters to rally across the region.

While governments in Europe condemned the explosion, they refrained from attributing blame. EU chief Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that there is no excuse for hitting a hospital full of civilians, and Russia described the strike as a crime and an act of dehumanization, calling on Israel to provide evidence that it was not involved.

Overall, the rocket strike on the Gaza hospital has resulted in significant casualties, raised tensions between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, and provoked international condemnation and protests.

Source: AFP

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Rachel Adams

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