Israel has denied responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of people at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) claims that the hospital was hit as a result of a misfire by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). However, PIJ has refuted these claims and accused Israel of trying to cover up their alleged massacre. Hamas, on the other hand, has placed the blame on the United States.
The death toll at the hospital has reached over 600, with another 900 people wounded. This number is expected to rise throughout the night. The hospital was not only treating patients but also serving as a refuge for many Palestinian civilians seeking safety from Israeli air raids.
Daniel Hagari, the IDF spokesman, stated that “an enemy rocket barrage was carried out towards Israel, which passed through the vicinity of the hospital when it was hit.” He further added that intelligence information from various sources points to the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization as being responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared the IDF’s claim, stating that it was “barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital.”
In response, a spokesman for PIJ called the Israeli claims completely incorrect and accused the IDF of trying to cover up their alleged horrifying crime and massacre against civilians. A Palestinian doctor described the attack as a massacre, while a Red Crescent representative labeled it as genocide and a war crime.
The situation has escalated further, as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh declared that Israel has declared war on Gaza. This declaration came after an incursion by Hamas militants on October 7, resulting in the death of over 1,300 Israelis. Haniyeh condemned the hospital attack, characterizing it as evidence of the enemy’s brutality and their sense of defeat.
Haniyeh also placed responsibility for the hospital attack on the United States, claiming that their support for Israeli aggression makes them accountable. Egypt, Qatar, and Turkey have condemned the hospital strike and blamed Israel. The World Health Organization did not assign blame but demanded that Israel rescind its evacuation order for Gaza. Russia and the UAE have called for an emergency UN Security Council session to address the incident.
The Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, founded by the Church of England in 1882, is currently managed by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. It has also been known as the Baptist Hospital due to its previous management by the US-based Southern Baptist Church. The hospital has a long history of providing healthcare services to the people of Gaza.
The conflicting accounts and allegations surrounding the attack on the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital have further exacerbated the already tense situation in Gaza. As the death toll continues to rise and international condemnation mounts, the need for an impartial investigation to determine the truth and hold those responsible accountable becomes increasingly urgent.