Anger continues unabated in the wake of hospital carnage and Israel ongoing airstrikes - Day 12 as it happened

Ahram Online , Thursday 19 Oct 2023

Hundreds of Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike on al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza in a massacre that provoked worldwide outrage and condemnation.

Palestinians look for survivors after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Oct. 1
Palestinians look for survivors after Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. AP

While the UN calls for an investigation into the Gaza hospital attack, the U.S. vetoed a resolution  that would have condemned all violence against civilians. Hamas expressed its support for the European Council President's call for an international investigation into the targeting of Gaza's Baptist hospital, where over 600 Palestinians lost their lives.
Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation criticized Israel's supporters, accusing them of granting the country impunity in its actions in Gaza.
Egypt reiterated its opposition to Palestinian displacement and its commitment to international law, while the conflict continues to escalate, resulting in increased international concern and calls for action to protect civilian lives and seek a resolution.
Gaza’s Interior Ministry said Israel resumed airstrikes before dawn on Wednesday and hit locations across the Gaza Strip after the blast at al-Ahli Hospital. At least 37 people were killed following attacks in the al-Qasasib and Halima al-Saadia areas of Jabalia, north of Gaza, it said.

Shifa Hospital, where hundreds of victims of the al-Ahli Hospital blast were taken, will run out of fuel on Wednesday unless more supplies enter the Gaza Strip, the hospital's general director says. He said earlier that doctors were performing operations on the floor without anesthesia and that a shortage of essential medical supplies was an urgent issue.

Jordan canceled a planned summit with President Joe Biden, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II because it “would not be able to stop the war now,” Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said.

Biden departed for a visit to Israel on Wednesday. The White House said Biden will "continue to stand in solidarity with Israel".


23:40 The Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has approved the opening of the Rafah crossing for the entry of around 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, the US president said. Sisi "deserves some real credit" after agreeing to open the Rafah border crossing to allow humanitarian aid", Joe Biden added.

This process will require approximately 8 hours of coordination, possibly the aid will reach Gaza late Thursday or on Friday. Commenting on the airstrikes that hit Gaza's hospital, Biden said "I will not talk about the hospital incident in Gaza unless I have confirmed information. I understand the skepticism of some around the world about who is behind the attack".

23:00 Liverpool’s Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah said on Wednesday that the massacres in Gaza need to stop, stressing that humanitarian aid must be allowed to Gaza immediately 

Salah's remarks come in the wake of the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the total siege imposed recently on the strip, depriving more than 2 million Palestinian people of food, water, and fuel.

22:05 Increased Israeli airstrikes hit West of Gaza City, in Shujaiya, al-Rimal, Jabalia, and around the Egyptian embassy, among other areas. Casualties are also reported from the shelling of the UNRWA school gate in Khan Yunis. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Red Crescent is warning against Israeli shelling of al-Quds hospital.

21:57 Hamas welcomed the European Council President's call for an international investigation into the targeting of the Baptist hospital, which resulted in the deaths of at least 600 Palestinians in Gaza.

21:45 The Palestinian Authority reaffirmed in a statement its commitment to July 2022 decisions, including full suspension of security coordination with Israel, stressing Palestinian right to self-defense.

21:38 Al-Hurra TV correspondent in Washington reports that over 2,000 demonstrators, primarily comprising American Jews, assembled outside the U.S. Congress building to call for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

21:25 Israel says its occupation army is prepared for the ground invasion of Gaza.

21:00 Tor Wennesland, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, issued a stark warning Wednesday about 'dangerous abyss' in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

"I fear that we are at the brink of a deep and dangerous abyss that could change the trajectory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if not of the Middle East as a whole," Wennesland said at a UN Security Council meeting on the conflict.

Wennesland called the war on Gaza "one of the most difficult moments facing the Israeli and Palestinian people in the past 75 years."

"We are facing a devastating and clearly difficult challenge for the region and for the international community. It comes at a moment when the global institutions we need to respond to such a crisis are already stretched," he added.

20:55  Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told CNN the cancellation of a summit with US President Joe Biden was made in response to the deadly blast Tuesday at a Gaza hospital, saying the decision was aimed at creating a more favorable environment for addressing the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“We had a thorough, long discussion with the Americans, and we came to the conclusion that the presidential card, the office of the president, is very important," Safadi said.

"I think everybody reached the conclusion that it is better not to have the president under these circumstances, because what people were expecting was a decision to end the war. That decision was not obviously forthcoming,” he said.

20:45 The UNRWA said it's currently hosting 1/2 a million people in its facilities in Gaza, - including the school that was hit during Israeli airstrikes and bombardments. "No place is safe in Gaza," the UN organization said, adding that at least six people were killed when the United Nations school was hit.

20:26 More than 100 U.S. lawmakers wrote to the Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Motaz Zahran, urging Cairo to work with Israel, the U.S., and relevant international stakeholders to "take all measured and appropriate steps to support and facilitate safe zones in southern Gaza," as well to enable the flow of humanitarian aid from Egypt toward the safe zones in question until Palestinians can return to northern Gaza.

20:22 The Russian delegate to the Security Council Vasily Nebenzya called for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the escalation between Israel and the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, following the US veto of a resolution that did not include a condemnation of the Hamas attack on Israel.

20:20 Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi warns of a “harsh revenge by the Islamic world for the crimes committed in Palestine and Gaza” after an Israeli rocket struck a hospital complex in Gaza, killing hundreds of Palestinians.

20:12 Hamas refuted Israeli claims of disavowing responsibility for the bombing of the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday night. The group stated in a release that "the resistance missiles are homemade and do not have the capability to cause the level of destruction witnessed at the hospital." Hamas also emphasized that the factions did not fire any rockets before or during the targeting of the hospital."

20:00 The Organization of Islamic Cooperation denounces Israel’s backers for granting the country “impunity” in its war in Gaza, during an emergency meeting in Jeddah.

19:40 Palestine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, urged the Security Council to take action to save Palestinian civilian lives amidst deadly Israeli attacks on Gaza for 12 days in a row.

Riyad Mansour called the Israeli hospital strike that killed around 600 people, a “heinous massacre in which hundreds of martyrs were killed", stressing that there is no safe place in Gaza for Palestinians, as confirmed by the UNRWA.

He said that “The war on Gaza must be stopped immediately, and any delay is fraught with danger. Additional numbers of Palestinians will be killed,” he added. “Israel killed about 3,500 Palestinians in Gaza, including more than a thousand children.”


19:25 The Israeli occupation army on Wednesday said it eliminated a squad that launched nine rockets from Lebanon at northern towns in Israel without giving any more details, Israeli media reported.

At least one rocket landed in an open area inside Kiryat Shmona, setting off sirens in the northern town and several nearby communities. There were no reports of any injuries or damage.

Separately, the Israeli army carried out a drone strike against what it alleged were groups launching rocket strikes from southern Lebanon at the Tel Turmus area in northern Israel, near the Israeli-annexed Shebaa Farms.

The northern Israeli towns of Metula, Malkia, Kibbutz Manara, and Rosh HaNikra were among those targeted by anti-tank-guided missiles fired from southern Lebanon.

Throughout Wednesday, Hezbollah said it had launched several missiles at Israeli army posts in northern Israel and attacked a number of those along the border with gunfire.

18:45 Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Wednesday its rejection of any displacement of Palestinians from the north of Gaza as it convenes international law.

Shoukry said under occupation, lands, homes, and properties of citizens must be preserved in accordance with international law and therefore Palestinians must remain on their land. 

“And any breach of this is considered a violation that has legal frameworks,” Shoukry in an interview with Sky News Arabia on Wednesday. 

18:30 The United States vetoed a U.N. resolution Wednesday that would have condemned all violence against civilians and urged humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 12 votes in favor, the United States against and two abstentions

18:00 The American delegate to the Security Council Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the United States stands with Israel and wants to allow time for diplomacy. She added in the Security Council session on Wednesday that Washington was "frustrated that the new resolution did not refer to Israel's right to defend itself". 

"We stress the need to protect civilians and are horrified by what happened at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza... It is important to provide water, fuel, and food to the citizens of Gaza, and Hamas is the one who caused this suffering", she said. The US delegate called "for the protection of civilians, condemn Hamas, and affirm Israel’s right to defend itself".

18:03 Israel will not allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza from the Israeli side of the border but will not block aid coming from Egypt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office says. Only "food, water and medicine" would be allowed into the blockaded Gaza, a cabinet's statement added. "In light of (US) President (Joe) Biden's demand, Israel would not foil the supply of humanitarian aid via Egypt," Netanyahu's office said, announcing a cabinet decision. The statement noted that aid to civilians in the southern Gaza Strip would be allowed "so long as these supplies do not reach Hamas".

17:55  American President Joe Biden says Israel has agreed to allow humanitarian assistance to move into Gaza from Egypt, with the understanding it would be subject to inspections.

17:35 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has expressed Egypt's understanding of what third-country nationals --   trapped in Gaza -- are exposed to.

"However, here is another question: Israel has six crossings through which third-country nationals can leave Gaza. I do not understand why the only way out for them is Egypt's only crossing, [Rafah crossing]," he added.

Egypt is ready to facilitate the exit of the trapped foreigners when the Egyptian crossing is functioning, Shoukry said in an interview with Sky News Arabia on Wednesday. 

"[The Rafah crossing] is not functioning because it was targeted by airstrikes four times, but when it is workable, it will be a solution for the exit of third-country nationals and the entry of aid to civilians in Gaza," he explained.

17:22 A UN Security Council session began Wednesday to discuss the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, which claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Palestinians and more than 11,000 injured, in addition to the displacement of more than a million whose homes were completely destroyed or partially damaged in the Israeli deadly airstrikes.

17:17 Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday condemned a deadly strike Israeli strike on a hospital in war-torn Gaza, calling it an "unjustifiable tragedy" without attributing blame.

Lula, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, reiterated his appeal for urgent international action to protect children and civilians in the Israel-Gaza war, in a message posted on X, formerly Twitter.

"The attack on the Ahli Hospital is an unjustifiable tragedy. Wars are senseless," Lula wrote. "Innocents should not have to pay for the insanity of war."

17:13 A shortage of fuel led to a long line of cars and motorbikes blocking a street outside at a gas station in Khan Younis as motorists and people on foot with containers hoped to fill up.

Men and boys stood in a parallel line holding empty plastic jugs and water bottles as they waited for a turn at the pump.

Palestinians are struggling to survive since Israel cut off supplies of food, electricity, water and fuel to Gaza. Scarce fuel that can be found can help to run generators and power water pumps.

"Everyone needs fuel to pump water to their homes, to irrigate their farms and to provide water for poultry, cattle and sheep", said Khalid al-Najjar.

"The whole world relies on fuel; it is an essential commodity just like food for us".

17:10 American President Joe Biden says from Israel "I am here to express my support for Israel". I have come to Israel with a simple message, he said. "You are not alone. As long as the United States stands – and we will stand forever – you will not be alone," he added ignoring Israel's crimes in Gaza. Biden added that his priority is the liberation of the detainees by the Palestinians.

16:35 The Lebanese army fired tear gas to disperse the protesters in front of the American Embassy in Beirut.


16:00 The US Treasury announced sanctions on 10 Hamas members, operatives, and financial facilitators Wednesday, including a key commander. The new sanctions target individuals based in Gaza and elsewhere, including Sudan, Turkey, Algeria, and Qatar, the US agency said in a statement.

15:30 In response to the ongoing demonstrations in relation to the situation in Gaza, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has decided to evacuate the staff from the Israeli embassies in Rahat, Morocco, and Cairo, Egypt, Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on its news website. This evacuation is part of a broader security measure, which includes heightened alert levels in all Israeli embassies worldwide, increased security measures, and the relocation of diplomats from more sensitive countries to safer locations, ynetnews added. Diplomatic staff members are instructed to minimize their movements outside of their residences unless it is absolutely necessary.

15:15 Across several cities in Egypt on Wednesday, thousands are taking to the streets in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, which has endured 12 days of Israeli bombardment. 

They are also expressing their condemnation of the Israeli army's shelling of Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, which led to the tragic loss of at least 600 Palestinian civilians.

15:00 Volunteers from the Decent Life Foundation and the National Alliance for Civil Development Work (NACDW) have staged a sit-in in front of the Rafah crossing to protest the relocation of Palestinians into Sinai and Israel's refusal to allow safe passage for humanitarian aid to Gaza.

14:45 At least 471 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli bombing of the Baptist Hospital in Gaza, the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza announced

14:30  3,478 Palestinians were killed and 12,065 injured since the beginning of the Israeli aggression on Gaza The Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

14:20 Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, in a speech during an emergency meeting of the Islamic Cooperation Council countries in Jeddah,  stressed on the necessity of lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip, calling on the international community to take a responsible stance to protect the Palestinians in Gaza. Bin Farhan added that aid to Gaza must be delivered to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

14:05 Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has declared a period of national mourning nationwide for three days, in mourning for the innocent victims of the crime of shelling Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in the Gaza Strip and for all the martyrs from the brothers and sisters of the Palestinian people, a statement by the Egyptian Presidency said on Wednesday.

14:00 Egypt’s House of Representatives and the Senate will hold emergency sessions tomorrow in response to the Israeli shelling of Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza that resulted in the killing of at least 600 Palestinian civilians.

13:45 Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said on Wednesday during a press conference in Lebanon that the US and all Western countries that support Israel “hold full responsibility for the war against civilians in Gaza.”

"The Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital massacre is one of the most horrific massacres committed in the modern era", Hamdan said, stressing that Israel targeted the hospital as part of the genocide against the people of Gaza, with American support.

Hamdan also said that Hamas is calling on the people of the nation to mobilize, rally, and demonstrate in all cities and squares next Friday in support of Palestine.

Earlier, Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements confirmed in two separate statements that Israel is trying to evade its responsibility for targeting the Baptist Hospital, which killed hundreds of Palestinians.
The Jihad movement indicated that Israel's claims were contradicting, as the Foreign Ministry spokesman had said that the explosion occurred inside the hospital after rockets were fired from its surroundings, while an Israeli army statement claimed that a failed attempt to launch rockets hit the hospital.
Meanwhile, Hamas explained that the targeting of the Baptist Hospital in Gaza was carried out with American firepower that only Israel possesses, noting that it provided more than one account of the disaster from the moment it occurred.

13:30 Russian President Vladimir Putin described the explosion at Baptist Hospital, which claimed the lives of at least 500 people, as a "tragedy" and a "terrible incident."

Putin, speaking to journalists at China's Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, stressed the gravity of the situation, saying, "Hundreds of dead and wounded, of course, this is a catastrophe... especially in a humanitarian place." He went on to express his hope that this dire event would serve as a clear signal for an immediate end to the ongoing conflict. "I expect this to be a signal that this conflict should end as soon as possible. In any case, it should lead to the start of some kind of contacts and negotiations", he said.

13:15 Iran’s top diplomat is calling on Muslim nations to expel their Israeli ambassadors and launch an oil embargo on Israel after an explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip.

13:00 France joined the US, Canada, and other Western countries on Wednesday in issuing travel warnings for Lebanon due to security tensions. The ongoing crossfire between Hezbollah and Israel along the borders has prompted these actions.

The French foreign ministry advised its citizens against traveling to Lebanon unless it is impossible to do otherwise, citing "security tensions in the region, especially at the southern border of Lebanon."

Earlier, the US State Department also discouraged travel to the country due to the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah, as well as other armed militant factions. The State Department authorized the voluntary, temporary departure of family members of U.S. government personnel and some non-emergency personnel from the US Embassy in Beirut due to the unpredictable security situation in Lebanon.

On Tuesday, Canada urged its citizens in Lebanon to leave the country while commercial flights were still available, in response to mounting instability in the Middle East.

The UK and Germany have also issued similar travel advisories.

12:45 Israel has told its citizens to leave Turkey immediately amid fears of reprisal attacks after a deadly strike on a hospital in the Gaza Strip, a consular spokesperson confirmed to AFP Wednesday.

"All Israelis staying in Turkey must leave as soon as possible," Israel's National Security Council announced late on Tuesday.

"I can confirm that the travel warning of the National Security Council to Turkey has been raised to 4, the highest level," the spokesperson told AFP.

Thousands joined protests in Istanbul and the capital Ankara outside Israel's diplomatic missions to condemn the attack on the Baptist hospital in Gaza.

Turkish police detained five protesters for attempting to sneak into the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, the governor's office said.

12:30 A joint statement by the Palestinian factions called on the masses of Arab and Islamic nations to come out in support of the Palestinian people.
“The position of some Arab countries rejecting displacement requires measures to prevent the killing of children and women in Gaza”, said the statement.

11:50 US President Joe Biden claimed on Wednesday that the explosion, which killed hundreds in a Gaza Strip hospital, "appears to not have been caused by Israel."

"Based on what I've seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you," Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting. Yet Biden said, "There were a lot of people out there who weren't sure what caused the blast."

11:22 A general strike is observed across the West Bank governorates to denounce the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza, amid calls for protests and confrontations with the occupation forces in all West Bank, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

11:15 Russia said on Wednesday that striking the Gaza hospital compound was a "crime" and an "act of dehumanisation".

"Regarding our assessment, we certainly qualify such an act as a crime, as an act of dehumanisation," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sputnik radio.

11:13 German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday that Germany wants to support Egypt's efforts to de-escalate tensions following Hamas' attack on Israel during a meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo.

"Together with Egypt, we want to work to alleviate the terrible consequences of the war," said Scholz, adding that they also discussed the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

11:00 In a press conference amid his meeting with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi emphasized Egypt's stance on the Palestinian cause and firmly rejected any attempts at displacement of the Palestinian people. Addressing concerns about potential displacement, the Egyptian president warned, "If there is an idea of displacement, why not move Palestinians to the Negev?" He made it clear that Egypt would not tolerate the Sinai Peninsula becoming a base for terrorist activities against Israel.

In a direct and clear statement from President Sisi about the danger of attempting to displace Palestinians and liquidate the issue he said "The displacement to Sinai means transferring the attacks against Israel to Egyptian territories, which threatens the peace between Israel and a country with a population of 105 million".

In a show of solidarity, President El-Sisi noted that millions of Egyptians were ready to protest any attempts to displace Palestinians from Gaza. "We reject the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and the relocation to Sinai," he emphasized, reiterating Egypt's commitment to preserving the Palestinian identity and rights.

10:45 Minutes after Biden's landing in Israel, rocket sirens sound in Kissufim settlement near Gaza

10:20 Islamic Jihad dismissed Israeli claims that the movement is responsible for the strike on Gaza's hospital, accusing Israel of attempting to evade accountability for the "brutal massacre" it allegedly committed. The group argued that Israel's order to evacuate Al-Ahli and reports of a previous explosion at the hospital served as evidence that the hospital was deliberately targeted by Israel. They also emphasized that the scale of the explosion, the angle of the bomb's fall, and the extent of the destruction all pointed to Israeli involvement.

Daniel Hagari, the chief army spokesman, claimed in a briefing with reporters that what happened was a failed launch of a missile by the Islamic Jihad towards the hospital. He further alleged that Islamic Jihad fighters had launched a series of rockets near the hospital, and that "intelligence from multiple sources" supported the group's responsibility.

10:15 President Joe Biden arrives in Tel Aviv. Air Force One touched down just before 10 am (0800 GMT) at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to welcome Biden personally on the tarmac.

10:10 The Israeli military disavowed any involvement in the tragic assault on Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, asserting, "It was due to a failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization."

The Israeli military released drone footage on X  showing the hospital's parking lot before and after the strike. In the video, the Israeli military contended that the fire that erupted as a result of the attack was unlike the typical effects of their munitions, which typically create substantial craters upon detonation.

10:00 World Health Organization says the situation in the Gaza Strip is rapidly "getting out of control".

9:00 US President Joe Biden will be posing 'some tough questions' to Israel's government when he arrives in the country on Wednesday," stated National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby to the reporters aboard Air Force One. Kirby emphasized that Biden's approach would not be adversarial but rather reflective of his genuine friendship with Israel.

Kirby added that "The president is 'going to get a sense from the Israelis about the situation on the ground, and, more critically, their objectives, their plans, their intentions in the days and weeks ahead.'" Furthermore, Kirby added that Biden would convey that the United States is committed to preventing the conflict from escalating, expanding, or intensifying.


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