Israeli airstrike on Gaza hospital kills at least 500, Israel blame game continues

The mounting death toll at the hospital is expected to rise further; this is however already the largest number of Palestinians killed in a single incident since the 1982 massacres at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon by the Israeli army and its Phalange allies.
Image: NDTV

At least 500 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday night by an Israeli airstrike on a hospital in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian health ministry has said.

Devastating video footage on social media showed the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City going up in flames after being struck by a bomb. The casualties are said to include hundreds of Gazans who had sought refuge in the hospital compound to escape the relentless Israeli bombing of the Gaza strip as the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) prepares to launch a ground invasion of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory.

MSNBC carried this report

Israel, that had called for the “evacuation” of 1.2 million , after the Hamas attack on Israel,  had already put all 22 hospitals in northern Gaza on notice when it ordered the complete evacuation of the Gaza Strip north of Wadi Gaza, a demand that the World Health Organisation had described last week as “a death sentence for the sick and injured.”

It added that “tens of thousands of displaced people in northern Gaza are seeking refuge in open spaces in or around hospitals, treating them as havens from violence as well as to protect the facilities from potential attacks. Their lives, too, are at risk when health facilities are bombed.”

A heartrending video on “X” (formerly twitter) showed scenes of young children in the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza city just hours before the Israeli bombing.

This image on “X” of a press conference held at the hospital, among a pile of dead says it all:

The director of the al-Ahli National Baptist hospital holds a press conference available on social media and posted 6 am IST; the hospital is the reportedly only Christian hospital in Gaza

And here is a doctor also speaking from the site of the crime

Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations put out his reaction (approximately 5 am IST) on social media:

The United Nations has come up for fair share of criticism on social media for its inability to stop what is being termed, at the least, as a one-sided carnage.

Israel “blames Islamic Jihad”, but Israel Army’s ‘Digital War’ unit had claimed credit for bombing

As the ghastly, mind-numbing toll from Tuesday’s night’s air strike became apparent, the Israeli military spokesperson tried to suggest it was not clear who had bombed the hospital.   “We’ll get the details and update the public. I don’t know to say whether it was an Israeli air strike,” he was quoted as saying by Haaretz. Soon after, the IDF formally blamed Palestinian Islamic Jihad for what it claimed was a “failed rocket launch which hit the hospital”, citing “multiple intelligence sources”, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that “it was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF.”

To date, no Palestinian rocket fired on Israel has managed to create the kind of destruction seen at the hospital site or cause the kind of death toll reported.

The BBC’s correspondent in Gaza said that given the size of the explosion, it was hard to see what else this could be other than an Israeli air strike and that Hamas’s rockets have never caused explosions of that scale.

Tellingly, in a tweet put out soon after the hospital was struck, a prominent social media influencer who serves in the Israeli military’s ‘digital war’ team, had hailed the bombing as a successful strike against a “Hamas terrorist base inside a hospital” by the Israeli Air Force. The tweet was deleted a little while later, presumably in the wake of the scale of the carnage:

Screenshot of deleted tweet by an Israeli social media influencer with close ties to the Israeli government and military.

As soon as the official Israeli narrative became one of a misfired Palestinian rocket, the official X handle of the Israel government put out a tweet of video footage purportedly showing an Islamic Jihad rocket misfiring. But the tweet was deleted and reposted without the video, presumably because the time stamp on the video showing a Palestinian rocket being launched was around 30 minutes after the bombing of the hospital:

The Times of Israel confirmed that the tweet was edited “to remove the video after some people pointed out that it appeared to date 40 minutes following the blast, and also showed one video with a date in the future.”

While Israel is now denying it has targeted the  al-Ahli hospital, the Anglican-run facility was hit by Israeli rocket fire on October 14, leaving four injured, according to a statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

WHO, MSF condemns bombing

Besides Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the UAE, the World Health Organisation was quick to denounce the bombing.

“WHO strongly condemns the attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip,” the UN agency said in a statement. “The hospital was operational, with patients, health and care givers, and internally displaced people sheltering there. Early reports indicate hundreds of fatalities and injuries.”

WHO added that the hospital was “one of 20 in the north of the Gaza Strip facing evacuation orders from the Israeli military. The order for evacuation has been impossible to carry out given the current insecurity, critical condition of many patients, and lack of ambulances, staff, health system bed capacity, and alternative shelter for those displaced.”

Besides, WHO said it “calls for the immediate active protection of civilians and health care. Evacuation orders must be reversed. International humanitarian law must be abided by, which means health care must be actively protected and never targeted.”

MSF, a prominent international NGO working in the area of health, said it was “horrified by the recent Israeli bombing of Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, which was treating patients and hosting displaced Gazans…  This is a massacre. It is absolutely unacceptable.”

Early on Wednesday night, doctors from the bombed al-Ahli hospital held a press conference amidst the carnage:

The death toll at the hospital is likely to rise further but represents the largest number of Palestinians killed in a single incident since the 1982 massacres at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon by the Israeli army and its Phalange allies.

According to the United Nations, more than 1 million Palestinians have fled their homes – approximately half of Gaza’s population – and that more than 400,000 displaced people are crowded into schools and other facilities in the south of the narrow territory. The UN’s Relief Works Agency says it has only 1 litre of water a day for each of its staffers still in Gaza.

World Protests Israeli crimes in Palestine

Even as Indian authorities cracked down on protesters from Uttar Pradesh to Maharashtra, in support of Palestinian people, the world, north America and Canada rallied behind, holding protests.

Montreal, Canada, for one had these protests just hours before the bombing of the hospital. Montreal Stands with #Palestine

Across Europe, especially Spain there were protests too; this video shows thousands marching in Madrid, Spain’s capital in support of Palestine:

Dallas, Austin (south of the USA) and San Antonio also had these protests:

Israeli Holocaust scholar terms these attacks as genocide

In an interview put out on October 16, Monday, Democracy Now interviews Raz Segal, Israeli holocaust scholar who terms “Israeli war on Gaza as genocide.”

As significantly, Al Jazeera English has an interview of Jewish Rabi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, that says among other things, that “Jews, Muslims and Christians have co-existed and the only significant change has been the introduction of Zionism.”

This video on “X” shows a ‘before’ and ‘after’ video before what is being called out as “Israeli war crimes”



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