On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden stated that the US would equip Israel with everything it needed to defend itself while it waged war against Hamas, the militant group he appeared to blame for a horrific blast at a Gaza hospital.
Biden, who arrived in Israel early Wednesday and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he was “sad and outraged” by an explosion at al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, which Hamas claimed killed hundreds of people.
“Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden said while seated with Netanyahu. “But there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we’ve got to overcome a lot of things.”
Biden has been a staunch supporter of Israel since Hamas carried out a cross-border assault in southern Israel on October 7, killing at least 1,300 people, the majority of whom were civilians. Several Canadians are included in that total.
However, the US president has stated that he does not want the conflict to escalate into a wider war and that humanitarian relief must be delivered to Gaza. In addition, White House spokeswoman John Kirby stated that Biden will ask “tough questions” about Israel’s goals and intentions when he talks with the Israeli war cabinet.
The hospital blast, according to Israel, was caused by a missile that fell short and was launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, which has disputed responsibility. An Israeli airstrike was blamed by Palestinian officials.
The tragedy at al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital forced the postponement of a planned meeting between Biden, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Jordan.
Ashraf Al-Qudra, a representative for the health ministry, said hundreds were dead and rescuers were still dragging bodies from the rubble. Earlier, a Gaza civil defense chief reported 300 deaths, while health ministry officials reported 500.
Reuters was unable to confirm the accusations or the death toll immediately.
The hospital sights come after 12 days of horrible photos, first of Israelis slain in their homes and then of Palestinian families buried beneath debris from Israel’s retaliation strikes.
Al Jazeera broadcast footage of a frenzied scene inside a Gaza City hospital as rescue workers probed the blood-stained rubble for survivors. At least four victims were seen being carried away in body bags by rescuers and civilians.
“People came running into the surgery department screaming, ‘Help us, help us, there are people killed and wounded inside the hospital!‘” said Dr. Fadel Naim, head of the hospital’s Orthopedic Surgery Department, who had just finished one operation and was about to begin another when the explosion occurred.
Sources: Al-Mughrabi, N. (2023, October 18). Doctors recount horror of Gaza hospital blast. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/doctors-recount-horror-gaza-hospital-blast-2023-10-18/
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