Hospital Blast in Gaza Kills Hundreds of Palestinians
Hamas Blames Israel ;Israel Blames Hamas Missile Mishap
In a devastating incident that has sent shockwaves through the international community, an attack on al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, a Christian-run medical complex in central Gaza City, has resulted in the deaths of at least 500 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, which had earlier estimated the death toll to be around 200-300 people.
Both Israeli and Palestinian officials have engaged in a blame game, with each side accusing the other for the tragedy. Al Qudra claims that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) deliberately targeted the hospital for bombing. Similarly, Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, has also placed the blame squarely on Israel. Israel, however, has stated that they have intercepted communications that Islamic jihad had been responsible for the strike. US media analysts stated that outside parties could use their military data to verify the source of the attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, denied these allegations, stating: "It was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF." Netanyahu also expressed that the same “brutal murderers” behind killing Israeli children in the terror attack that sparked the conflict episode was also responsible for brutally murder Palestinian children, referring to Hamas terrorists. On October 18, Netanyahu delivered a press release on the issue.
The Times of Israel reported that the strike had been caused by "Islamic jihad rocketfire" in a "mishap" when Hamas had reportedly shot a rocket in Israel's direction that landed on the hospital. Footage taken on Wednesday, October 18, showed the bomb blast had happened in the hospital's parking lot, impacting the hospital but failing to damage the building's surrounding.
The aftermath of the attack has been captured in harrowing images and videos. Photos of the hospital reveal fire engulfing the halls, shattered glass, and body parts scattered across the wreckage. Videos shared on social media platforms depict first responders arriving at the scene and evacuating bloodied bodies.
Speaking to NBC News, Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah, visibly shell-shocked, recounted the horrifying ordeal. He stated that there were three artillery attacks on the hospital, causing parts of the roof to collapse. Even as he treated a patient for a jugular injury, the destruction raged around him.
International humanitarian organizations have expressed their outrage and condemnation of the attack. Doctors Without Borders, known for their work in conflict zones, issued a statement on the X platform, expressing their horror: "This is a massacre. It is absolutely unacceptable," the organization declared.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also denounced the attack, stating, "The hospital was operational, with patients, health and care givers, and internally displaced people sheltering there. Early reports indicate hundreds of fatalities and injuries."
The WHO further criticized Israel's orders to evacuate the north side of the Gaza Strip last week, claiming that it was impossible to carry out such an evacuation for the equivalent of 1.1 million people.
The war between Israel and Hamas was sparked by a terror attack on Israel on October 7 that has now claimed the lives of 1,400 people and wounded thousands more.