Israeli army strikes Gaza hospital, kills at least 600 people - Day 11 as it happened

Ahram Online , Wednesday 18 Oct 2023

Gaza endures unrelenting Israeli bombings, leaving the Rafah border crossing to Egypt closed, as US President Joe Biden prepares for a solidarity visit to Israel.

A Palestinian child wounded in Israeli bombardment is brought to a hospital in Deir el-Balah, Gaza S
A Palestinian child wounded in Israeli bombardment is brought to a hospital in Deir el-Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. AP


01:30 The African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat accused Israel of a "war crime" following the deadly strike on a hospital in the Gaza strip .

"There are no words to fully express our condemnation of Israel's bombing of a Gaza hospital today, killing hundreds of people," Faki said on X

"Targeting a hospital, considered a safe haven under International Humanitarian Law, is a war crime," Faki said.

Check international reactions on the attack

00:55 Jordan’s foreign minister told state-run television that Jordan has canceled the four-way summit scheduled for Wednesday with Egypt President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Jordan King Abdullah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. President Joe Biden.

00:30 France "firmly" condemned a deadly strike on a Gaza hospital by the Israeli army.

"International humanitarian law is binding on all and must allow for the protection of civilian populations. Humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip must be opened without delay," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

00:05 Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement on Tuesday called for a "day of rage" to condemn a strike on a Gaza Strip hospital, blaming Israel for what it called a "massacre".

"Let tomorrow, Wednesday, be a day of rage against the enemy," Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas militants who are at war with Israel, said in a statement, calling the strike a "massacre" and "brutal crime".

23:45 Egypt's Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry revealed in his interview with CNN on Tuesday that four Egyptian workers were injured due to the Israeli military's shelling of the Rafah border crossing. He revealed that the crossing was severely damaged and need to be repaired as soon as possible to enable the movement of aid

23:30 Russia and the United Arab Emirates called Tuesday for an emergency UN Security Council meeting following the deadly strike on a hospital in the Gaza Strip that left at least 600 dead.

22:50 The Israeli military says it had no involvement in an explosion that killed at least 600 hundred people at a Gaza City hospital and that the blast was caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.

22:35 Several reports and video circulating show protesters trying to break into the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan following the strike on a Gaza hospital that killed over 600 people.

22:20 Hundreds of Palestinians marched Tuesday through central Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority, protesting president Mahmud Abbas shortly after a strike on a Gaza hospital killed at least 600 people.

"The people want the fall of the president," protesters chanted, referring to Abbas, an AFP journalist reported, apparently over his conciliatory tone since war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza began earlier this month.

The Authority has partial administrative control in the Israel-occupied West Bank.

22:10 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to return to Ramallah and not participate in the Quartet summit scheduled to be held in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on Wednesday. This decision follows the casualties and injuries resulting from an Israeli airstrike on the Al-Muadhami hospital in Gaza.

Abbas was expected to participate in the Quartet summit with the presence of U.S. President Joe Biden, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip.

21:45 Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas declared three days of mourning after a "hospital massacre" in Gaza, a strike that Hamas officials blamed on Israel and say killed at least 600 people.

Abbas announced "public mourning for three days and flags flown at half-mast for the martyrs of the Baptist hospital massacre and all our people's martyrs", the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

21:00 The UN agency for Palestinians says at least six people were killed when one of its schools in the central Gaza Strip was hit Tuesday.

20:30 Israeli air strikes on a Gaza hospital compound Tuesday killed at least 500 people, the health ministry said.

The statement added that hundreds are still under the rubble and the number is set to increase.

19:45 Egypt FM Sameh Shoukry said in an interview with BBC: “ If you are asking me if Egypt can host 2.5 Million inhabitants, I believe you can equally ask if Britain or any European Union country can adopt this policy."

Shoukry added that several countries complained against an influx of mere thousands of migrants while Egypt already hosts 9 million guests on its land.

“Attempts to misrepresent Egypt’s position about Rafah Crossing are unacceptable … the crossing has been subject to 4 aerial bombings by the Israeli side and hence it is not functioning normally… the crossing has never been officially closed by Egypt,” he stressed.

“We are in constant contact with all UN agencies to extract a safe passage for the relief aid,” Shoukry added while emphasising that up to this moment, no agreement has been reached with the other side regarding the crossing.

18:36 The US military on Tuesday ordered 2,000 personnel to prepare for deployment to the Middle East as a show of force as Israel's war on Hamas intensifies.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the deployment would allow the United States "to respond more quickly" to the crisis, while the White House stressed it did not intend to put US combat forces on the ground.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said preparing the troops for deployment "is really about sending a signal of deterrence."

"We don't want to see this conflict escalate and widen," Kirby said on CNN. "There are no plans or intentions to put US boots on the ground in combat in Israel."

17:48 Around 3,000 people have been killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian health ministry said on Tuesday.

More than 12,500 others have been wounded since Israel started bombarding Gaza on October 7.

17:27 Lebanon's Hezbollah movement said Tuesday that four of its fighters had been killed in south Lebanon, bringing to nine the number of the group's members killed in intensifying border skirmishes with Israel.

16:45 Palestinian militant group Hamas said one of the top leaders of its armed wing was killed in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip.

"Ayman Nofal, 'Abu Ahmad', a member of the general military council and commander of the central command in Al-Qassam Brigades, was killed" in an Israeli strike on the central Gaza Strip, Hamas said in a statement.


The United Nations Human Rights Office expressed concern over Israel's forcible transfer of civilians, which it considers a violation of international law. Meanwhile, the UNRWA voiced worries about depleting supplies in Gaza, raising concerns of potential waterborne diseases.

U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Israel, demonstrating strong U.S. support amid the ongoing conflict. He is also set to participate in a summit in Amman with Egyptian President Sisi, Palestinian President Abbas, and Jordan's King Abdullah.

Israel reported an increase in the number of its prisoners, with 199 individuals now in Palestinian captivity. Turkey is engaged in discussions with Hamas regarding the release of foreigners and civilians held by the group.

Iran's Supreme Leader issued a warning, stating that resistance forces cannot be stopped if Israel continues its bombardment of Gaza as Jordan's King Abdullah cautioned against pushing Palestinian refugees into neighboring countries.


15:55 Hamas' spokesperson Hazem Qassem said, during a telephone interview with CNN, that the "US stance toward the Palestinian people was aggressive" and that "Biden’s visit was aimed at providing financial and moral support to Israel while encouraging the latter to commit more massacres against Palestinians."

15:10 Israel has reported an increase in the number of prisoners held by Palestinians, with 199 individuals now in captivity. This marks a rise from the previous figure of 155 war prisoners held by the Palestinian resistance movement.

14:45 Israel launched a number of airstrikes about a kilometer from Rafah crossing, according to a CNN stringer at the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Dozens of trucks are on the Egyptian side of the crossing waiting to get into Gaza, the stringer said.  Two airstrikes struck 15 minutes apart around 1 kilometer away from the Rafah crossing,

14:30 The United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday that Israel’s siege of Gaza and its evacuation order amount to the international crime of the forcible transfer of civilians.

“We are concerned that this order, combined with the imposition of a complete siege of Gaza, may not be considered as lawful temporary evacuation and would therefore amount to a forcible transfer of civilians in breach of international law,” Reuters reports Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN human rights office, said.

​The term “forcible transfer” describes the forced relocation of civilian populations and is a crime against humanity punishable by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Palestine is a member od the ICC but Israel is not.

In a statement, Shamdasani adds that attacks on civilians - while attempting to flee the necessary parts of Gaza - must be investigated independently. 

14:00 Air raid sirens have been reported in southern Israel over fears of a rocket attack from Gaza.

The city of Ashkelon appears to be under air raid warnings. Ashkelon is located between the northern region of Gaza and Tel Aviv.

13:30 Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan stated, "We are in discussions with Hamas about the release of foreigners, civilians, and children who are being held." He made this remark following a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib.

Fidan emphasized that Turkey is actively working to prevent the spread of conflict to Lebanon and other countries. Ankara's efforts are focused on two fronts: averting the escalation of conflicts and urgently providing aid to Gaza.

13:25 Clashes erupted again Tuesday on the border between Lebanon and Israel, where Israeli forces and armed groups in Lebanon have engaged in a series of low-level skirmishes since the outbreak of the latest war in Gaza.

An anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon landed in the town of Metula in northern Israel Tuesday morning, injuring three people, according to the Israeli Ziv Medical Center in Safed, said AP.

No group in Lebanon has immediately claimed responsibility. It was not clear if the injured were civilians or soldiers, but Israel has ordered civilians to evacuate the area near the border with Lebanon.

Israel struck several areas along the border in southern Lebanon with artillery fire and white phosphorus, the state-run National News Agency in Lebanon reported. 

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib said that Israeli attacks in southern Lebanon pour "oil on the fire" and threaten to ignite the front and may lead to a situation that is difficult to contain.

12:47 A cruise ship carrying some 160 U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals who opted to leave Israel has arrived in Cyprus’ main port of Limassol.

The Rhapsody of the Seas docked at dawn Tuesday and were met by the U.S. ambassador to Cyprus, Julie Fisher. Passengers were processed by Cypriot authorities and local U.S. embassy officials before being bussed to temporary accommodation prior to their flight back home. 

12:45 Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that "no one can stop resistance forces" if Israel keeps up its deadly bombardment of Gaza.

"If the crimes of the Zionist (Israeli) regime continue, Muslims and resistance forces will become impatient, and no one can stop them," Khamenei said.

"No matter what the Zionist regime does, it cannot make up for the scandalous failure it suffered," Khamenei said. 

12:32 Gaza's residents continue to put forth tremendous efforts, using their bare hands, to recover the bodies of relatives and neighbors from the ruins of homes and buildings that have been leveled by the deadly Israeli airstrikes on the territory.


11:32 Palestinians in Gaza reported intense bombardments early Tuesday near the southern towns of Khan Younis and Rafah, where Israel ordered civilians to seek refuge.

Israeli bombs hit areas west and southeast of Khan Younis and west of Rafah, according to local reports.

Thousands of Palestinians with foreign passports wait to leave, despite the Israeli air strike that hit homes in the area, which contains the territory’s only border crossing to Egypt, as international mediators press for a deal to allow aid in and refugees with foreign passports out. 

Hundreds of lorries carrying vital supplies are headed towards the only crossing into Gaza not controlled by Israel, aid officials have said. "We've not been told what time we're going to cross but we were asked to head for Rafah," an Egyptian Red Crescent official said, asking not to be identified.

But all crossings into Gaza remain closed and trucks have been piling up on the Egyptian side for days exacerbated by at least four Israeli border strikes and Tel Aviv's reluctance to permit humanitarian aid entry for Palestinians.

11:05 King Abdullah II of Jordan said at a meeting with German Chancellor OIaf Scholz in Berlin that neither Jordan nor Egypt would be willing to take in any Palestinian refugees.

The Jordanian king told reporters on Tuesday that “this is a red line ... no refugees to Jordan and also no refugees to Egypt.” “This is a situation that has to be handled within Gaza and the West Bank,” he said. “And you don’t have to carry this out on the shoulders of others.”

Abdullah also said that everything needs to be done to prevent a further escalation of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The whole region is on the brink,” Abdullah said. “This new cycle of violence is leading us towards the abyss.” Scholz, who is traveling to Israel later on Tuesday, stressed that the country has every right to defend itself and can count on Germany’s support.

10:50 Palestinian Prisoners' Club says Israel arrested at least 70 Palestinians from the West Bank on Monday night and early Tuesday morning. This brings the total number of Palestinians arrested by the occupation forces since 7 October to 630, as reported by the NGO based in Ramallah.

10:40 The head of the United States Central Command has landed in Israel to meet with Israeli occupation army officials amid the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip and as tensions heat up on the Lebanon border.

In a statement, CENTCOM says Gen. Michael Kurilla will meet with Israeli occupation army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and others, to “gain a clear understanding of Israel’s defense requirements, outline US support efforts to avoid expansion of the conflict, and reiterate the Department of Defense’s ironclad support for Israel.”

“I’m here to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself, and am particularly focused on avoiding other parties expanding the conflict,” Kurilla says in remarks provided by CENTCOM.

10:10 American president Joe Biden is due to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud  Abbas, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Jordan's king in Amman, during his visit to the region, the White House announced. 

Biden will make a landmark trip to Israel Wednesday, a show of "ironclad" support as Washington tries to prevent the escalating war in Gaza from spilling over into regional conflict. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Biden's visit would be a statement of "solidarity with Israel" and an "ironclad commitment to its security".

Washington has already sent two aircraft carrier strike groups to the eastern Mediterranean "to deter hostile actions against Israel."

10:00 Israeli continues its heavy bombardment of Gaza, including in southern areas of Rafah and Khan Younis where Israel told Palestinians to forcibly evacuate for their safety. 

The death toll from the overnight air raids carried out by Israel in the southern Gaza Strip has risen to 71, bringing the current death toll to 2,837 Palestinians killed by Israel, as reported by the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.


According to the UNRWA, this ongoing conflict has severely affected water availability, with concerns of dehydration and waterborne diseases due to the collapse of water and sanitation services, including the shutdown of Gaza's last operational seawater desalination plant.

"Fuel reserves at all hospitals across Gaza are expected to last for an additional 24 hours onlyThe shutdown of backup generators would place the lives of thousands of patients at serious risk.", the UN organizaton said.

9:37 Israeli occupation army spokesman Jonathan Conricus says some 600,000 people have so far fled northern Gaza forced by Israel to evacuate their homes. In his daily update on the war on Gaza, he said that "there are still 100,000 that need to - and should - go". The occupation military official said Israel's "operations continue in the south" of Gaza.

9:28 At least 49 people were killed in Israeli strikes on the southern Gazan cities of Khan Yunis and Rafah overnight on Tuesday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

9:17 Relief convoys which had been waiting in the Egyptian city of El Arish Tuesday headed towards the Rafah border crossing with the Palestinian Gaza Strip, aid officials said. "We have arrived at the terminal and are now waiting for the next step," said Heba Rashed, who runs the aid group Mersal. Hundreds more lorries were headed along the coast road for the 40-kilometre (25-mile) journey to Rafah, other aid officials said.

9:05 The Israeli occupation army says it killed four persons who tried to cross the border from Lebanon and plant an explosive device. 

Israeli Air Forces continued to strike in Khan Younis and other southern areas despite the directive for people in Gaza to move south.   

9:00 The UN Security Council on Monday rejected a Russian resolution condemning spiraling violence in the Middle East, with delegates refusing to back a motion that did not single out Hamas for its surprise attack on Israel. 

Just four countries voted with Russia on its proposed text. Four others -- including the US -- voted against, while six abstained.

A second text proposed by Brazil with unequivocal language condemning the Palestinian group appeared to have broader support, and was expected to come to the vote on Tuesday evening, diplomats said.

Russia's UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said despite the failure, the resolution had spurred the council to action. "It has contributed to launching a substantive discussion in the Security Council on this topic. Without our encouragement, everything would probably have been limited to empty discussions," he said.

The United Kingdom, which joined the US in voting down the Russian proposal, criticized Moscow's lack of consultation, and accused Russia of not making a serious attempt to find consensus.

Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour said the council had a moral duty to act in a bid to restrain an Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip he said was claiming 12 lives every hour.

"Don't send the signal that the Palestinian lives don't matter," he said. "Don't dare say Israel is not responsible for the bombs it is dropping over their heads.

"What is happening in Gaza is not a military operation. It is a full scale assault against our people. It is massacres against innocent civilians."



The relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip has killed over 2,800 Palestinians and and left nearly 11,000 injured, with the vast majority being women and children. The ongoing missile strikes have left Gaza in ruins, with countless homes reduced to rubble, and its 2.3 million residents struggling with severe shortages of essentials like food, water, and electricity.

:Hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents are grappling with the urgent need to move to the southern half of the territory due to Israel's forced evacuation orders, with nearly 1 million Palestinians forced to abandon their homes to date.

While major Western nations have yet to condemn Israel's actions, global voices advocating for peace and supporting the Palestinian cause are gaining momentum, demanding an immediate halt to Israel's ongoing massacres. Hamas reports holding 200 captives and expresses intentions to release foreign nationals when conditions permit. In response to the Gaza conflict, the Pentagon has issued orders for 2,000 U.S. troops to prepare for potential deployment.

Concerns are mounting over the situation's potential escalation, with Iran warning that a ground invasion in Gaza could trigger a broader conflict involving other countries. To address this crisis, Egypt is taking proactive steps by planning a summit for Saturday, aiming to de-escalate the situation and protect the civilians in Gaza with the collaboration of regional and international partners.




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