Monday June 17, 2024

Hundreds killed in Gaza hospital bombing as conflict enters 11th day

Published : 18 Oct 2023, 01:27

  DF News Desk
People remove a victim from a building destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, on Oct. 17, 2023. Photo: Xinhua by Khaled Omar.

Hundreds of people were killed in an airstrike on the Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in the Palestinian enclave on Tuesday, reported Xinhua.

Gaza's health ministry said the airstrike was carried out by Israel while the Israeli military said the Islamic Jihad organization is responsible for the "failed shooting" that targeted Israel.

"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," said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in a statement posted on social media X.

Several Arab and regional countries including Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan and Türkiye have condemned Israel over the airstrikes.

After the attack, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas canceled his participation in a four-way summit to be held in Amman, the capital of Jordan on Wednesday and returned to Ramallah. He was expected to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, and U.S. President Joe Biden at the summit.

Biden is expected to arrive in Tel Aviv on Wednesday and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ceremonial President Isaac Herzog before heading to Jordan to attend the quartet summit. Biden's schedule also includes a meeting with Israel's new wartime Cabinet, according to state-owned Kan TV news.

The Israeli military was in preparations for continuing the fight against the Gaza-ruling Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), following the rampage by Hamas militants in Israel on Oct. 7.

"We are preparing for the next stages of war," Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli army, told reporters in a briefing on Tuesday. "We haven't disclosed what they will be. Everyone is discussing the possibility of a ground offensive, but it might be something different."

Meanwhile, Netanyahu toured southern Israel and warned that "the battle (in Gaza) will be carried out with mighty force in the next few days."

Fresh clashes broke out along the Israeli-Lebanese border on Tuesday. The Israeli military stated that observation troops noticed "a squad attempting to infiltrate the security border fence and plant an explosive device." At least four of them were killed, the military said. An Israeli attack also targeted "a military infrastructure of Hezbollah" in response to fire directed at Israel on Monday.

Later, an anti-tank missile from Lebanon was launched toward the town of Metula on the Israeli side of the border, triggering Israeli tank strikes in response.

"If Hezbollah makes the mistake of attacking Israel, it will be destroyed," Israel's military chief Herzi Halevi warned during a tour in the Northern Command.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Israel on Tuesday to show solidarity with Israel, saying in a statement alongside Netanyahu that he was on "a visit to friends in difficult times."

The total number of fatalities in Gaza has reached at least 3,000 in the 11-day ongoing war, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The death toll in Israel remains at about 1,300, with most of them killed on Oct. 7 in the Hamas surprise attacks on southern communities.