'No excuse for hitting a hospital' in Gaza: EU chief

AFP , Wednesday 18 Oct 2023

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said there is "no excuse for hitting a hospital full of civilians" in Gaza, but did not apportion blame for the massacre.

A Palestinian reacts as he is helped across the rubble following an Israeli airstrike on buildings in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 17, 2023. AFP


The European Commission president told EU lawmakers the "facts need to be established" on the overnight strike on the Gaza hospital which killed at least 500.

Palestinians accuse Israel for the massacre, which has triggered street protests in the Middle East against Israel.

Von der Leyen, speaking before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, said the overnight explosion turned the hospital into "a hell of fire".

"All those responsible must be held accountable," she said.

Von der Leyen, who visited Israel last Friday in a show of solidarity with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, has been criticised by some European Union countries for perceived bias to the Israeli side at the expense of Palestinian civilians.

In her parliamentary address, von der Leyen said "we must redouble our efforts to protect citizens from the fury of war".

She added that the EU needs to keep supporting the Palestinians, "and there is no contradiction in standing in solidarity with Israel".

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