A massive blast at a Gazan hospital last night killed hundreds of Gazans, including the wounded, and women and children who were seeking shelter at the medical facility. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said at least 500 people have perished in the blast.
The devastating incident sparked outrage with the UN Secretary General saying that the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 cannot justify the collective punishment of people. The news also sparked protests across the world, with Jordan, Syria and Turkey condemning the attack. Both Hamas and Israel Defence Forces have blamed each other for the blast, with Hamas blaming it on an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli military blamed a rocket misfired by other Palestinian militants.
A huge explosion at a packed hospital in Gaza City has killed hundreds of people, including many who were wounded in previous Israeli retaliatory airstrikes for the Hamas attack on October 7, said Gaza’s Health Ministry. Several Gazans displaced by the ongoing conflict and taking shelter at the medical facility are said to be among those killed.
Video footage showed the blast eating up the hospital building and its premises dotted with bodies, including that of children, with their limbs severed.
The al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital, also known as Baptist Arab National Hospital, is located in central Gaza, as per a report in Al Jazeera. It is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. “The hospital was housing hundreds of sick and wounded, and people forcibly displaced from their homes,” the Gaza health ministry said in a statement.
Hospitals in Gaza act as a sanctuary for tens of thousands of people affected by the continous Israeli airstrike, with people crowding in the courtyards and corridors of such medical facilities which were believed to be safe havens from the strikes.
As per initial estimates, around 500 people have perished in the blaze, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. They added that several more are believed to be trapped under the rubble.
An Associated Press report said that around 350 casualties were moved to al-Shifa, the main hospital in Gaza City. Al-Shifa’s director Mohammed Abu Selmia said that the hospital was overwhelmed and running low on supplies, including fuel for its generators.
srael and Hamas have blamed each other for the blast.
Hamas called Tuesday’s hospital blast “a horrific massacre” caused by an Israeli strike. Meanwhile, the Jewish nation blamed it on a misfired rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, though the latter denied the allegation.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put the blame for the hospital blast squarely on the “barbaric terrorists in Gaza.”
In a statement on X (formerly known as Twitter), Israel said that an analysis by the Israel Defence Force’s operational systems showed that a barrage of rockets was launched toward their country, which passed in the vicinity of the hospital when the medical facility was hit. “According to intelligence information from a number of sources we have, Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is responsible for the failed rocket launch that hit the hospital,” it said.
Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that though the IDF did have an Israeli Air Force operation in the area around the same time, it was “with a different kind of ammunition that does not … fit the footage that we have [of] the hospital,” as per an Al Jazeera report. He claimed that the explosion occurred in the building’s parking lot and that the death toll has not been independently verified.