At least 500 people were killed in an airstrike at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in the Gaza Strip, Palestine, on the 17th (local time). With Israel and the Palestinian armed faction Hamas passing the blame to each other, the situation of armed conflict is expected to change rapidly depending on the truth of the incident.
U.S. President Joe Biden, who attempted mediation, was scheduled to hold a summit meeting with Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority ( PA ) in Amman, Jordan, immediately after his visit to Israel on the 18th, but it was canceled due to a disaster and his visit to Jordan was cancelled.
According to AP and Reuters, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip announced that at least 500 people, including patients and victims, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a hospital in Gaza City on this day. Al Jazeera reported that “(the hospital) was attacked without prior warning,” and that “many of the injured were women and children.” It is reported that this hospital was accommodating not only the injured but also many Palestinian civilians who fled due to Israeli air strikes.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said, “Israeli forces committed a terrible war crime,” adding, “Hundreds of people were injured and hundreds of victims are still under the rubble of the building안전놀이터.” Hamas also condemned it as “a crime of genocide that reveals the ugly face of the enemy.” PA President Mahmoud Abbas described the airstrike as a “horrible massacre of war” and declared three days of mourning.
While the international community was shocked, other Middle Eastern countries also joined in condemning Israel, and protests took place everywhere. Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying, “Israel must immediately stop collective punishment of civilians in the Gaza Strip,” and Turkiye, Qatar, Jordan, and Iran immediately joined the ranks of condemnation.
However, the Israeli military ( IDF ) refuted the cause of the disaster, saying, “It was caused by a rocket accident caused by Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian terrorist organization.” Major General Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, claimed, “If it had been an IDF airstrike, there would have been a large hole at the site or structural damage to the hospital building,” and added, “We cannot find any traces of such. ” Meanwhile, CNN and others reported on this day that
the U.S. Congress is preparing a bill authorizing the deployment of U.S. troops in the event that Iranian-backed forces intervene in an armed conflict between the two sides . This is interpreted as an attempt to prevent the worst-case scenario of pro-Iranian forces, such as the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, intervening and developing into a war in the Middle East. Hezbollah formed a second front, attacking northern Israeli territory on the 18th.