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The blast from a rocket that struck the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza has killed hundreds, Palestinian officials report.
Video from Gaza shows charred cars, buildings in flames and injured Palestinians being rushed to receive medical care. Palestinian officials and others in the international community immediately put the blame squarely on Israel. Leaders of the terror group Hamas in Gaza called the strike “a war crime” and “genocide”.
Israel has denied initial reports that the missile that struck the hospital came from Israeli Defense Forces.
The IDF noted it “does not target hospitals” and blamed the small group ‘Islamic Jihad’ for a “failed rocket launch.”
“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” IDF said in a statement.
It should be noted that, as of this article’s publication, the IDF has yet to make that evidence public.
Experts in the region note the high death toll with this strike is uncommon with rockets from Gaza. It is, according to reports, more common with the larger, sophisticated missiles from Israel.
However, the Times of Israel reports that video seems to show a rocket misfire in the vicinity of the al-Ahli hospital. That misfire reportedly occurred shortly before the blast.
A review of by US intelligence officials confirms this reporting and asserts that Israel did not fire the rocket that hit the hospital.
Strike on Gaza hospital heightens tensions in the region, stokes fears of further conflict
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for three days of mourning following the hospital strike.
Protests erupted across the West Bank shortly after news of the strike spread. Tensions in the region have been quickly rising after a terror attack by Hamas militants killed more than 1400 Israelis on October 7th.
President Biden is expected to visit the region on Wednesday, however his plans to visit with the heads of surrounding nations fell apart after the hospital strike.
Videos reportedly from the hospital show scores of bodies strewn across the ground, covered in blankets.
The strike adds to the human toll of the war and increases the immense strain on humanitarian infrastructure in Gaza.
Water, electricity and aid remain cut off to Gaza, with many in the country describing the situation as dire.
Civilians rushed victims from the al-Ahli hospital to the nearby al-Shifa hospital. The direct of the al-Shifa hospital, Mohammed Abu Selmia, warned the healthcare system in Gaza is on the brink of failure.
“We are squeezing five beds into a single tiny room. We need equipment, we need medicine, we need beds, we need anesthesia, we need everything,” Abu Selmia said, warning that the fuel supply for the hospital’s generators will run out Wednesday. “I think Gaza’s medical sector will collapse within hours.”
As the humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsens, President Biden traveled to Tel Aviv Wednesday to offer condolences and caution.
Biden told Israelis he understands and validates the rage they feel in the aftermath of the Hamas terror attack.
“But I caution you,” Biden said, “while you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it.”
“After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States,” the President continued. “While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.”