Bombed Al Ahli Baptist Hospital

Unicef/Reuters via CNN

Hospital bombing in Gaza kills hundreds—sparks outrage and accusations as Israel, Palestine place blame on other side

Over 500 people died in the strike, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.


Marlon Ettinger


Horrific footage from an explosion this evening at the Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in Gaza is circulating online, with scant confirmed details about the strike sowing confusion and outrage online.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, at least 500 people were killed in the strike.

Unverified footage of the aftermath of the strike, which is circulating around Telegram channels that follow the Israel-Palestine War, shows scores of unmoving bodies amid flames, heavy smoke, and sounds of despair.

Annahar, a Lebanese newspaper, reported on X that the Israeli army had warned that the hospital be evacuated along with five other hospitals so Hamas wouldn’t use it as a refuge.

The hospital is run by the Episcopal Diocese in Jerusalem, and has been in operation since 1882.

Richard Sewell, the dean of St George’s College in Jerusalem, which is also run by the Epsicopal Church, wrote on X that the hospital had “taken a direct hit from an Israeli missile … This is deliberate killing of vulnerable civilians. The bombs must stop now. There can be no possible justification for this.”

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mahmoud Basal, the head of Gaza’s civil defense told Al Jazeera, describing women and children who’d had their heads blown off and bodies in pieces.

The Israeli military denied that the missile came from them, reported the Associated Press. 

Instead, it said that the explosion was caused by a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket.

The official Israel X account posted a video of an analysis it claimed to have done of the strike attributing it to the terrorist organization, but quickly edited the post to remove the video.

Footage in the video shows the rockets it claimed to be responsible for the explosion to have been fired just before 8:00 PM local time, but the first reports of the blast were already coming in around 7:20PM.

A statement from the foreign ministry also claimed that the terrorist group had fired its missiles around 7:00PM, reported the Times of Israel.

Around the time news of the explosion began circulating, Israel’s Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir tweeted that as long as Hamas held onto Israeli hostages, “the only thing that needs to enter Gaza are hundreds of tons of explosives from the Air Force, not an ounce of humanitarian aid.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) tweeted about the attack and called out President Joe Biden, who is scheduled to visit Israel soon to show support for the country.

“@POTUS this is what happens when you refuse to facilitate a ceasefire & help de-escalate,” she wrote. “Your war and destruction only approach has opened my eyes and many Palestinian Americans and Muslims Americans like me. We will remember where you stood.”

However, while a number of people placed the blame on Israel, as reports of a potential accidental strike circulated, users criticized those who accepted the initial statement from Hamas. 

“The media believed Hamas’ lies about the hospital because they want so badly for there to be moral equivalency between the IDF and Hamas. There isn’t,” wrote @politicalelle

“you don’t need the IDF statement (though helpful w/ distinction between Hamas & PIJ) to prove the hospital in Gaza was hit by a rocket from inside the Gaza Strip, not an Israeli airstrike. The timing, video of the rocket, the sound, the kind of explosion, etc. were enough,” wrote another.

Despite the debating sides, there is currently no consensus as to who was responsible for the attack as of right now. 

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