In a devastating turn of events, over 500 lives were tragically lost in an Israeli air raid on Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, located in central Gaza. This marked one of the most severe war crimes committed by Israel thus far in the Israel-Gaza conflict. The health ministry in Gaza released this distressing information on Tuesday, highlighting the enormity of the loss.
Hamas, the governing body in the Palestinian territory, condemned the attack, unequivocally labeling it a “war crime.” Meanwhile, Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari provided no details regarding the casualties within the hospital.
After the warnings from Israel to move from entire northern Gaza, civilians sought refuge in central and southern Gaza, only to face this unimaginable War Crime. Observers have pointed out the stark reality that this incident seems to suggest an alarming strategy of targeting Palestinian civilians.
Images circulated on social media painted a grim picture of the scene, with the building engulfed in flames and the aftermath revealing the heart-wrenching sight of medical staff, patients, and civilians amidst the wreckage.
Since the onset of Israeli airstrikes on October 7th, tens of thousands of displaced individuals have sought shelter in hospitals, schools, and UN facilities across Gaza. The World Health Organization (WHO) vehemently condemned this attack and called for the immediate protection of civilians and healthcare facilities in the Palestinian enclave.
Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressed his condemnation on the social media platform X, stating, “WHO strongly condemns the attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital.” Egypt, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also voiced their strong disapproval, emphasizing the egregious nature of targeting a hospital.
Reporting from Gaza, Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum described the affected area as “full of displaced people.” He highlighted the density of the population, comprising commercial establishments, residential buildings, and those who sought refuge after being instructed to evacuate.
Medical and rescue personnel have previously raised concerns over what they perceive as a deliberate targeting of medical vehicles by Israeli forces. Sohaib Safi, the medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) in Gaza, emphasized that ambulances attempting to reach areas under fire are intentionally targeted, preventing the evacuation of the injured and trapped.
This tragic incident at the hospital transpired amidst an unrelenting wave of Israeli air raids, claiming the lives of over 3,000 individuals and leaving entire neighborhoods in Gaza decimated, according to Palestinian officials.
This heart-wrenching war crime by Israel transpired on the eve of a visit to Israel by US President Joe Biden. The visit is anticipated to reaffirm US support for Israel actions regardless of Genocide.