An Israeli bombing of a Gaza hospital causes at least 500 deaths, according to Gaza authorities | International

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A Gaza hospital was the scene this Tuesday of one of those tragedies that change the course of a war. At least 500 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza authorities, in an Israeli bombing of Al Ahli al Arabi, a hospital in the heart of the capital that was packed with both patients and people taking refuge from airstrikes. The Israeli army, on the other hand, replies that the explosion was the result of a “failed launch” of rockets by the Islamic Jihad. If Israeli responsibility is confirmed, the Gaza hospital tragedy would be one of the largest massacres ever caused by a bombing by its army. The massacre turns around the visit that the president of the United States, Joe Biden, makes this Wednesday to the area to negotiate the entry of humanitarian aid to the Strip due to the depletion of water, electricity and fuel due to the “complete siege.” ” decreed by Israel. A minor massacre at a UN compound in Lebanon led then-Israeli Prime Minister Simon Peres to end Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996.

Images from the scene show dozens of bodies taken to Al Shifa hospital, also in the capital. Al Jazeera has broadcast a video that captures the moment of the huge explosion. The number of deaths in the 11 days of bombings already exceeded 3,000, almost a third of them are minors, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

The Israeli Army has indicated that "the analysis of its operating systems" shows the launch against Israel of "a volley of enemy rockets" that "passed through the vicinity of the hospital when it was hit." And he blames the impact on a failed shot by the Islamic Jihad, based on “intelligence information” from “several sources.” “Let the whole world know: the barbaric terrorists of Gaza are the only ones who attacked the hospital in Gaza, not the Army,” responded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The news has ignited the streets in the Arab and Muslim world. In the Palestinian part of Jerusalem and in West Bank cities such as Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem, dozens of people demonstrate calling for the resignation of the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who has canceled the four-party meeting that he had planned to hold this Wednesday with Biden, King Abdullah of Jordan and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi. Security forces are responding with tear gas and noise grenades to disperse protesters. In Istanbul, Amman and Beirut, thousands protest in front of Israeli diplomatic representations.

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Al Jazeera has broadcast a speech in which Ismail Haniya, leader of Hamas, calls for the “uprising” of all Palestinians in the world and asks the rest of the Arab and Muslim world to join the protests. “We are facing the writing of history,” added Haniya, who has demanded condemnation from the United States and the international community against this “generalized slaughter.” Khaled Meshaal, the former leader of Hamas who lives in Qatar, has requested rallies before the various diplomatic representations of Israel.

The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has “strongly” condemned the attack on the hospital, which is managed by the Anglican Episcopal Church of Jerusalem. Tedros has called for the “immediate protection of civilians and health facilities”, as well as the cancellation of the Israeli evacuation order for the northern half of Gaza, which 600,000 of its 1.1 million residents have already followed.

There are also another 400,000 displaced people, mainly in hospitals and schools of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). This is the case of those killed in the bombing. Some have lost their homes and others have moved to places they consider safer from bombing.

Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and the Arab League have also expressed their rejection. The head of the latter, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, has asked the West to “immediately stop the tragedy in the Strip”, while the king of Jordan speaks of “massacre” and “war crime”. Qatari diplomacy has defined the expansion of Israeli attacks on hospitals, schools and other population centers as a “dangerous escalation.” The emirate, with an ambitious foreign policy and connections with both the United States and Hamas, carries out mediation tasks to reach an agreement that allows the entry of humanitarian aid to the Strip.

An injured person transferred from Al-Ahli Hospital lies on the floor of Al-Shifa Hospital.
An injured person transferred from Al-Ahli Hospital lies on the floor of Al-Shifa Hospital.Abed Khaled (AP)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority has issued a statement in which it emphasizes that this massacre “will forever remain a stain on the conscience of humanity, which has witnessed the horrors committed against the Palestinian people without acting to stop it.” ”.

More restrained has been the reaction of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who has pointed out that the information "seems to be confirmed" and recalled that the attacks against civilian infrastructure "are not in accordance with international law."

Hours before the bombing of the Al Ahli hospital, Patricia Garrido, delegate in the West Bank city of Ramallah of the International Committee of the Red Cross, regretted that "the perimeter of the hospitals" was not being respected. “There is bombing and there is damage to health infrastructure,” added Garrido, reports Patricia R. Blanco. The bombings also create problems for radio communication and make “ambulance service” difficult. “The number 101 [teléfono de emergencias en Palestina] “It is failing,” he told this newspaper.

The “complete blockade” by land, sea and air of the Strip ordered by the Israeli Ministry of Defense last Monday has made the situation in Gaza hospitals “hypercritical, at an unsustainable level.” In the two hospitals managed by the Red Crescent in the Strip, in Gaza City and Khan Younis, “80% of the fuel stock has already been used up since last Thursday” and there is hardly any food, water or medicine left. In addition to the patients, some 8,000 people are taking refuge there from Israeli bombings. “I don't know how much longer they can hold out if they don't open the Rafah crossing” that connects the Strip with Egypt. “Many lives could be saved, but they will not be saved if the blockade of the arrival of humanitarian aid continues.”

Hours earlier, Israel had already bombed a UNRWA school in the Al Maghazi camp, also in the capital and where there were 4,000 people sheltered, according to the organization's top official, Philippe Lazzarini. At least six people have died, although “the number is likely to increase.” “It is outrageous and again shows a blatant disregard for civilian lives. There are no longer safe places in Gaza, not even UN facilities,” Lazzarini lamented in a statement. The UN provides Israel with the coordinates of its facilities.

Several women mourn at the Al-Shifa hospital, after being transferred from the attacked health center.
Several women mourn at the Al-Shifa hospital, after being transferred from the attacked health center. Anadolu Agency (Anadolu via Getty Images)

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