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Israeli Airstrike on Gaza Hospital Kills At least 500, Triggers Mass Protests in the Middle East

Wounded Palestinians wait for treatment, at the al-Shifa hospital, in Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)

On Tuesday an Israeli airstrike devastated Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, resulting in a reported death toll exceeding 500 individuals, according to a statement by the Palestinian Health Ministry’s spokesman, Ashraf al-Qudra.

The horrifying scenes at the site depicted a grim reality, with lifeless bodies scattered across the hospital grounds. This strike occurred while thousands of Palestinians had sought refuge within the hospital, tragically turning it into a target of bombardment.

Humanitarian organisation Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, said: “We are horrified by the recent Israeli bombing of Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, which was treating patients and hosting displaced Gazans,” in a statement published on social media platform X.

“Hundreds of people have reportedly been killed. This is a massacre. It is absolutely unacceptable,” they added. “Nothing justifies this shocking attack on a hospital and its many patients and health workers, as well as the people who sought shelter there. Hospitals are not a target. This bloodshed must stop. Enough is enough.”

In response to these reports, the Israeli army issued a statement stating that the situation is currently “under review.” Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israeli army, acknowledged a lack of complete information at this time and assured that further details will be revealed in due course, as reported by The Times of Israel.

In the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike on al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, resulting in the loss of at least 500 lives, the Israeli military took to social media to attribute the incident to a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket. The official statement posted on the Israeli Defense Forces’ social media account indicated that “from the analysis of the operational systems of the IDF, an enemy rocket barrage was carried out towards Israel, which passed through the vicinity of the hospital when it was hit.” However, the initial version of the post included a video depicting rockets fired from the proximity of Gaza City, a video that was subsequently deleted.

Aric Toler, a visual investigations specialist at The New York Times, raised questions regarding the timing of the incident, with the first public mentions of the hospital bombing occurring at 7:20 PM local time, while the video shared by Israel as evidence bore a time stamp between 7:59 and 8:00 PM local time.

The Palestinian group Hamas condemned the incident, categorizing Israel’s actions as “genocide,” adding to the ongoing tension between the two sides.

The Israeli attack on al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City has sparked condemnation from various nations, including Qatar, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Bahrain, Canada, and Saudi Arabia.

In the occupied West Bank, the assault on the hospital has ignited widespread protests, with reports of the Palestinian Authority resorting to the use of force to disperse the demonstrators. Demonstrations denouncing the hospital strike have taken place in Syria, Tunisia, Spain, Berlin, Turkey, and Lebanon, with protesters in Jordan going so far as to storm the Israeli embassy.

Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, cancelled a scheduled summit between the United States, Egypt, and Palestinian leaders, originally slated for the following day, in response to the hospital attack.

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