Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group based in the Gaza Strip, fired a rocket that killed hundreds of Palestinians at Gaza’s al-Ahli Arab Hospital, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday.
“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” he wrote on social media. “Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza.”
“The entire world should know: It was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza and not the IDF,” he added. “Those who brutally murdered our children also murder their own children.”
A large explosion rocked the hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday night, as Palestinian terrorists fired heavy barrages of rockets at southern and central Israel. Alarms sounded in major cities, including Rishon Letzion, Petach Tikvah, Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan and Bat Yam.
“An Islamic Jihad missile has killed many Palestinians at a Gazan hospital—a place where lives should be saved,” said Israeli President Isaac Herzog. “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 willfully spill the blood of the innocent,” Herzog added. “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.”
Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization charged that “the massacre at the Baptist Hospital is a crime of genocide,” calling on Arab and Islamic countries to “intervene immediately.” It also urged Arabs in Judea and Samaria to attack Israeli forces to “avenge the massacre.”
Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas canceled his participation in a planned summit with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday after he accused Israel of targeting the hospital, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday, citing senior P.A. officials.
In addition to Biden and Abbas, the summit in Jordan was to be attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and King Abdullah of Jordan, Amman said earlier on Tuesday.
Abbas ordered three days of mourning be observed in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, and that PLO flags be flown at half-mast, according to the authority’s Wafa news agency.
A White House official said that Biden had postponed his travel to Jordan and the planned meeting, after consulting with the Jordanian king and in light of the days of mourning that Abbas announced, per the White House pool report.
“The president sent his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded,” per the pool. “He looks forward to consulting in person with these leaders soon, and agreed to remain regularly and directly engaged with each of them over the coming days.”
Waves of condemnation
Prior to Israel’s announcement that Palestinian terrorists had misfired, hitting the hospital, Israel was condemned widely and, per Herzog, in “a 21st-century blood libel.”
In a statement cited by Jordan’s Petra News Agency, Amman “denounced, in the strongest terms, the Israeli airstrike that targeted al-Ahli Hospital, holding Israel, the occupying power, responsible for this serious development.”
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs “condemned in the strongest terms the Israeli bombing of al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the death of hundreds of innocent victims and wounding and injuring Palestinian citizens in Gaza.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on “all humanity to take action to stop this unprecedented brutality in Gaza,” saying the incident shows the Jewish state is “devoid of the most basic human values.”
Jerusalem raised its travel warning to Turkey to the highest level, Israel’s National Security Council announced on Tuesday, urging all Israelis in Turkey to leave the country immediately.
Saudi Arabia said the incident “forces the international community to abandon double standards it has used to selectively apply international law when it comes to Israeli criminal practices and requires a serious and firm stance in order to provide protection for defenseless civilians.”
Bahrain called for an “urgent ceasefire” and voiced its “support for any regional or international effort that would de-escalate and stop violence,” as well as reviving the Arab-Israeli peace process.
“Israel just bombed the Baptist hospital killing 500 Palestinians (doctors, children, patients) just like that,” wrote Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).
Addressing Biden, Tlaib wrote, “this is what happens when you refuse to facilitate a ceasefire and help de-escalate. 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.”
In Brussels, Charles Michel, president of the European Council of E.U. leaders, lamented the “dramatic situation on the ground of the people” of Gaza, adding that “an attack against a civilian infrastructure is not in line with international law,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
The World Health Organization condemned what it called an “attack on al-Ahli Arab Hospital.” In a statement on social media, the WHO called for the “immediate active protection of civilians and health care.”
‘A day of unprecedented anger’
After Qatar-based Al Jazeera accused Israel of targeting the hospital “where thousands of civilians are seeking medical treatment and shelter from relentless attacks,” angry protesters gathered in front of the Israeli embassies in Amman and Istanbul, per video footage shared on social media.
In Amman, crowds tried to set the Israeli diplomatic mission on fire, per local media.
In Lebanon, the Hezbollah terrorist organization declared “a day of unprecedented anger” against Israel and the United States, reported Reuters.
“The attack reveals the true criminal face of this entity and its sponsor … the United States, which bears direct and complete responsibility for this massacre,” the Iran-backed terror group stated.