US President Joe Biden visits Israel after explosion at hospital in Gaza Strip

ByRahul

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US President Joe Biden has visited Israel in a display of solidarity, blaming the deadly strike on a Gaza hospital on “the other team”.

Human rights groups have condemned the strike, which left up to 500 people dead. Israel and Hamas have blamed the incident on each other.

Read on for the latest news.

‘Done by the other team’: Biden’s verdict on strike

US President Joe Biden has backed his ally’s stance blaming Palestinian militants for a rocket strike on a hospital that allegedly killed hundreds in war-torn Gaza.

Multiple countries blamed Israel, which has rained bombs on Gaza since the bloody October 7 attack by Hamas, and protests erupted in Muslim countries from Egypt to Pakistan while Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah vowed a “day of rage”.

But Mr Biden, on a solidarity visit to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, voiced support for Israel’s position that a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket caused the deadly carnage at Gaza’s Christian-run Ahli Arab Hospital.

“I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday,” Mr Biden said about the strike that killed 471 people, according to Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry.

“And, based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” said the US President, referring to the armed movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which Washington designates “terrorist” groups.

“But there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we have to overcome a lot of things.”

Asked later by reporters what made him sure that Israel was not responsible for the strike, Mr Biden replied: “The data I was shown by my defence department.”

Mr Biden expressed “iron-clad” US support for Israel and its military campaign.

“We will continue to have your back,” he said after meeting Mr Netanyahu’s war cabinet in Tel Aviv.

“As you work to defend your people, we will continue to work with you and partners across the region to prevent more tragedy to innocent civilians.”

Biden lands in Israel

US President Joe Biden has landed in Israel, where he was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

His visit came after a blame game erupted between Hama sand Israel over the explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian President: ‘We will not kneel’

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has cut short his trip to Jordan in the wake of last night’s hospital bombing that claimed the lives of at least 500 people in Gaza.

The leader under siege has vowed Palestine “will not surrender, and will prevail”, refusing to let the current situation devolve into another generational catastrophe for the sovereignty of the embattled nation.

He described the situation on the ground as a “hideous war massacre”.

“In light of this calamity that occurred tonight, and out of concern for our people, I decided to cut short my visit and return to the homeland to be among my people in this great ordeal, and I agreed with the brothers in Jordan and Egypt to cancel the summit that was scheduled today in Amman with President Biden,” Abbas said.

“We will not allow a new Nakba in the 21st century, and we will not accept the displacement of our people again. Our people will remain steadfast in their homeland and will not leave, no matter the sacrifices.

“We will do everything necessary to stop the bloodbath in Gaza and in the West Bank. We will not accept anything other than stopping this war, and the Security Council must shoulder its responsibilities and take the initiative to issue a resolution to condemn this crime and stop the aggression immediately.

“Our people will not kneel, will not surrender, and will prevail.”

Biden to pose ‘tough questions’ to Israel

We are awaiting the moment US President Joe Biden arrives in Israel, where he will pose “tough questions” to government officials as the situation continues to deteriorate.

Biden has now had his trip to Jordan cancelled as the war in Gaza continues.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Al Jazeera the Amman summit was cancelled as “there is no use in talking now about anything except stopping the war”.

‘Indescribable’: UN calls for ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza following last night’s devastating hospital bombing.

Guterres was speaking at a Beijing forum attended by both Chinese President Xi and Rusisan President Putin and stressed that the “entire region” hangs in the balance.

His comments followed a threat from Iran to intervene and attack Israel before the IDF could continue its plan to wipe Hamas from Gaza.

“I call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire… to ease the epic human suffering we are witnessing,” he said, ”Too many lives, and the fate of the entire region hang in the balance.”

The Palestinian health ministry said the scene on the ground is “unparalleled and indescribable”.

“Doctors are performing surgeries on the ground and in the corridors, and some of them were without anaesthesia,” ministry spokesman Dr Ashraf Al-Qudra said in a statement following the alleged attack.

“A lot of people are still waiting for operations, and the medical teams are trying to save their lives in intensive care.”

Vision ‘proves’ rockets originated in Gaza

Several video clips have been released appearing to show a barrage of rockets originated in Gaza headed for targets in Israel, moments before a deadly blast at a hospital that has killed 500 people.

Scores of civilians had been seeking shelter and medical care at al-Ahli Arab Hospital, which was struck overnight in an air raid that witnesses claim was carried out by Israeli forces.

Images are emerging of the horrifying scenes at the hospital, with hundreds of victims still trapped beneath rubble.

Horrifying scenes at site of hospital blast

Palestinian authorities say 500 people are feared dead after the blast at al-Ahli Arab Hospital, which humanitarian groups have described as “the worst attack on a medical facility in the 21st Century”.

Zaher Sahloul from the US-based MedGlobal humanitarian organisation called it “the worst attack on a medical facility in the 21st Century”.

“Bombing hospitals is against international law. It is a war crime,” he said.

“It compounds trauma in the Gaza Strip, sending the message that nowhere is safe, not even inside a hospital.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) demanded the immediate protection of civilians and health care in the Gaza Strip. “

WHO strongly condemns the attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X.

Tamara al-Rifai, from the UN Relief and Works Agency, claimed there was “direct Israeli fire” on the hospital.

“An attack on densely populated refugee camps where people are sheltering in UN schools and premises is something that is utterly shocking. It is a very sad violation of international humanitarian law. I am lost for words right now,” she told Al Jazeera.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has expressed its “shocked and horrified” by the blast.

“Hospitals should be sanctuaries to preserve human life, not scenes of death and destruction,” it said in a statement.

“No patient should be killed in a hospital bed. No doctors should lose their lives while trying to save others. Hospitals must be protected under international humanitarian law.”

Israel slams accusations it bombed hospital

Israel’s Foreign Ministry also claimed it has vision that proves Hamas rockets were responsible for the blast at the hospital.

“From the analysis of the operational systems of the IDF, an enemy rocket barrage was carried out towards Israel, which passed through the vicinity of the hospital when it was hit,” a post from Israel’s official account on X, formerly Twitter, reads.

“According to intelligence information, from several sources we have, the Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation is responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital.”

It said that “the IDF did not conduct any operations in the area at the time of impact”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a furious statement shortly after the blast.

“So the whole world knows: The barbaric terrorists in Gaza are the ones who attacked the Gaza hospital, not the IDF,” Mr Netanyahu said.

“Those who cruelly murdered our children, murder their children as well.”

And Israeli President Isaac Herzog has slammed allegations it launched an air strike on a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds.

“An Islamic Jihad missile has killed many Palestinians at a Gazan hospital — a place where lives should be saved,” Mr Herzog said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Shame on the media who swallow the lies of Hamas and Islamic Jihad — broadcasting a 21st-Century blood libel around the globe. Shame on the vile terrorists in Gaza who wilfully spill the blood of the innocent.

“Never before has the choice been clearer. Israel is standing against an enemy made of pure evil. If you stand for humanity – for the value of all human life – you stand with Israel.”

Fiery protests break out

Thousands of angry protesters have stormed part of the US Embassy in Lebanon, tearing down an American flag and replacing it with a Palestinian one.

The streets of Beirut have been filled with demonstrators, who began gathering late on Tuesday night local time following the deadly blast at a Gaza hospital.

Another crowd gathered outside the French Embassy nearby. Police shot off smoke bombs in an attempt to disperse demonstrators.

Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, called for mass protests in response to the hospital blast.

At the same time, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets across West Bank cities, including Ramallah.

Footage shows demonstrators clashing with authorities, with security forces firing tear gas on the crowd.

The AFP news agency says people in the crowd were demanding Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas resign over his handling of the conflict with Israel.

Similar protests against the hospital attack are being staged in Tunisia, Jordan, Türkiye, Syria, Morocco, Yemen and Lebanon.

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