Massacre in Gaza: Israeli attack on hospital kills Over 500 Lives

The Palestinian health ministry said that at least 500 people were killed in an Israeli air raid on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, where thousands of displaced people had sought refuge amid the ongoing Israeli aggression on the besieged enclave.

The ministry said the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike that targeted the hospital, which is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. It said hundreds of other victims remained under the rubble and that the death toll was expected to rise.

The ministry accused Israel of committing a “massacre” and a “war crime” against the Palestinian people and called for urgent international intervention to stop the Israeli attacks and lift the blockade on Gaza.

Israel, however, denied any involvement in the attack and blamed it on a “failed rocket launch” by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) armed group, a rival of Hamas, which controls Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement that it had “categorically” not struck the hospital and that its intelligence suggested that the explosion was caused by a PIJ rocket that malfunctioned and fell short of its intended target.

The PIJ denied the Israeli allegation and said it had no rockets in the area where the hospital was located. It accused Israel of trying to cover up its “crime” and shift the blame to the Palestinian resistance.

The hospital strike was the deadliest incident in Gaza since the current round of violence erupted on October 10, when Hamas launched a surprise incursion into Israel, killing six Israeli soldiers and capturing two others.

Since then, Israel has unleashed a relentless campaign of airstrikes and artillery shelling across Gaza, killing more than 1,500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and injuring more than 10,000 others, according to Palestinian sources.

Israel says it is acting in self-defense and targeting Hamas and other militant groups that have fired more than 3,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli towns and cities, killing 12 Israelis and injuring hundreds more.

The hospital strike sparked widespread condemnation and outrage from world leaders, human rights groups and civil society organizations, who denounced Israel for violating international humanitarian law and using disproportionate force against the civilian population in Gaza.

Jordan, which had planned to host a summit with US President Joe Biden and several Arab leaders on Wednesday, canceled the meeting in protest of the hospital bombing and called for an immediate end to the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who had also been scheduled to attend the summit, expressed his strong condemnation of the Israeli raid on the hospital and urged the international community to intervene to end the bloodshed and resume peace talks.

Saudi Arabia also issued a stern statement, slamming Israel for committing a “heinous crime” against the Palestinians and calling for holding Israel accountable for its actions.

The United Nations, which has been trying to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, said it was “shocked and appalled” by the hospital strike and demanded an independent investigation into the incident.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply disturbed” by the reports of civilian casualties in Gaza and reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and respect for international humanitarian law.

He also urged Israel to allow humanitarian access to Gaza, where hospitals are struggling to cope with the influx of wounded patients amid severe shortages of electricity, water, fuel and medical supplies.

Biden, who has faced criticism for his muted response to the crisis, said he was “saddened” by the loss of life in Gaza and expressed his support for Israel’s right to defend itself. He said he would travel to Israel on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and discuss ways to de-escalate the situation and restore calm.

Biden also said he would work with Egypt and other regional partners to facilitate humanitarian aid to Gaza and support efforts to rebuild trust between Israelis and Palestinians. He said he remained committed to advancing a two-state solution that would ensure lasting peace and security for both sides.

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