London, Oct 18 (IANS) Hundreds of people were killed in an Israeli strike at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, reports said.
The number of people killed has reached 500, following the alleged air strike on the Al Ahli Arab hospital, according to the Gaza Health Ministry spokesman, the BBC reported.
It quoted an Israeli Army spokesperson saying the cause of the incident is not known and the army is looking into the details.
The hospital is funded by the Anglican Church, and Richard Sewell, Dean of St George’s College – one of the church’s top figures in Jerusalem – said that it took “a direct hit from an Israeli missile”, the BBC said.
Sewell, in a post on X, said early reports suggest hundreds of women and children have been killed, and calls the act the “deliberate killing of vulnerable civilians”.
“The bombs must stop now. There can be no possible justification for this.”
British-Palestinian surgeon Professor Ghassan Abu Sittah, who was working there when the strike occurred, told the BBC that parts of the hospital were on fire.
“I don’t know whether that is the emergency department. But it’s certainly the operating suite, part of the roof has fallen. There is glass everywhere,” he said, adding that there were lots of people taking refuge at the hospital.
The BBC also quoted an unnamed doctor at the hospital that there was total devastation at the scene of the attack – where some 4,000 displaced persons were seeking refuge.
He added that 80 per cent of the hospital was out of service, and that hundreds of people were killed or injured in the blast.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared three days of mourning following the air strike on Gaza’s Al Ahli hospital, Palestinian state media reported.
He has also reportedly cancelled his meeting with US President Joe Biden in Jordan on Wednesday.
Protests have broken out in Ramallah in the West Bank.
World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he “strongly condemns” the attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital, adding early reports indicate hundreds of deaths and injuries.
“We call for the immediate protection of civilians and health care, and for the evacuation orders to be reversed. #NotATarget,” he posted on X.
Earlier, the UN said a school in central Gaza where 4,000 people are sheltering was also hit, killing at least six people
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