There are 471 deaths, according to the data from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at the Al-Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital in Gaza City. Hamas accuses Israel of bombing the healthcare facility on the evening of October 17.
However, Israel denies this and points to a failed rocket explosion launched by the Islamic Jihad. Today, Israel released aerial images, “before and after the failed launch”, suggesting there were no Israeli jets above the hospital facility. An audio recording has also been disseminated in which two Hamas terrorists attribute the launch to the Jihad. The international community has had a strong reaction, starting with the Arab world and Palestinian President Abu Mazen, who canceled the scheduled meeting in Amman with Joe Biden and declared three days of national mourning in the West Bank.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stated, “Establish responsibility.” Biden, who is currently in Israel, expressed being “outraged and deeply saddened,” but in a conversation with Netanyahu, he added, “The explosion seems to have been caused by the other side, not by you.” Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Guterres, has called for an immediate ceasefire “for humanitarian purposes.”
Hamas: “The responsibility lies with the US”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, speaking to Al Jazeera, immediately stated that the hospital massacre confirms the “brutality” of Israel. He made a new appeal to Palestinians in the occupied territories to rise up against Israeli occupation and cited the “responsibility” of the United States for the attack, referring to the “cover they provide for the Israeli aggression.”
Israel: “It was Gaza terrorists”
“The world must know that it was barbaric terrorists who hit the Gaza hospital, not the Israeli army”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on X on the evening of October 17. He added, “Those who brutally killed our children also kill their own”. This morning, the Israeli military spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, reiterated that it was a defective rocket launched at 6:59 PM yesterday by the Islamic Jihad from a cemetery not far from the hospital. Israel, he added, also has a recording of a conversation between Hamas men confirming the launch of a defective rocket. The spokesperson then clarified that the hospital building “was not hit,” but damage was found in the external parking area, where there are “signs of a fire.”
Reactions from the Arab-Palestinian world
The PLO – Palestine Liberation Organization – made a new appeal to the international community to “put an end to this massacre” after the hospital attack. Egypt strongly condemned the Israeli bombing, Iran called it a “brutal war crime and genocide,” Jordan stated that it considered the Israeli state “responsible for these dangerous developments.” In Amman, a protest erupted yesterday evening, with hundreds of people storming the Israeli embassy and setting fire to the outer walls. “Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in Nablus, Tulkarem, and Jenin” also in the West Bank, as reported by Al Jazeera.