Hundreds killed in strike by Israel on hospital in Gaza: Palestinian Authorities

A massive blast at a Gaza City hospital left hundreds of people dead on Tuesday, leading to widespread criticism and protests in West Asia, Reuters reported.

While the authorities in Gaza said that an Israeli air strike caused the blast, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad.

A blast took place at the Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital.

A civil defence chief in Gaza said that 300 persons were killed in the attack. However, the region’s health ministry put the number of fatalities at around 500. The toll was by far the highest in a single incident in Gaza during the ongoing violence between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The health ministry said on Wednesday that rescue workers were still pulling out bodies from the rubble.

Videos from the hospital showed a fire engulfing the building and the surrounding grounds strewn with bodies, according to the Associated Press.

The Palestinian Authority’s health minister Mai Alkaila accused Israel of carrying out a massacre at the hospital. Hamas denied Netanyahu’s claims about its involvement and accused Israel of “trying hard to evade responsibility for the brutal massacre it committed”.

The Israeli prime minister cited “intelligence from multiple sources” to assert that a failed rocket launch by the militant group led to the blast at the hospital.

“An analysis of IDF [Israel Defense Forces] operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by Hamas in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” he claimed.

In other parts of Gaza, airstrikes killed dozens of civilians and at least one senior member of Hamas, according to AP.
Richard Hecht, Israel’s military spokesperson, said that the country was preparing for the next stages of war. “We haven’t said what they will be,” he said. “Everybody’s talking about a ground offensive. It might be something different.”

On October 13, Israel had ordered civilians in Gaza to evacuate and only return when the military makes another announcement allowing them back. This came six days after Hamas, which runs Gaza, launched a multi-pronged attack.

In response, Israel declared a siege on Gaza and launched a series of airstrikes. It also stopped water, fuel and power supplies to Gaza.

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