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Outrage, condemnation over deadly Gaza hospital strike

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A strike on a Gaza hospital compound which health officials there said killed at least 200 people has provoked outrage and condemnation from around the world, with protests on the streets of Amman, Tunis, Beirut and Tehran.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which runs the territory, accused Israel of being behind the strike. The Israeli army blamed it on a misfired rocket attack by Hamas ally Islamic Jihad, which has described the accusations as “lies”.

Here are some of the major reactions:

 UN

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “horrified by the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in a strike on a hospital in Gaza”.

Guterres “strongly condemned” the strike but without attributing responsibility.

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 United States

President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion” and “the terrible loss of life that resulted”.

Biden said he had spoken to Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “immediately upon hearing this news.”

 Egypt

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi condemned in the strongest terms “the Israeli bombing” of the Ahli hospital, which led to “the deaths of hundreds of innocent victims” among the Palestinian citizens in Gaza.

He called the “deliberate bombing” a “clear violation of international law”.

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 Saudi Arabia

Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia condemned the hospital strike as “a flagrant violation of all international laws and norms”, denouncing Israel’s “continuous attacks against civilians”.

 Jordan

Israel bears “responsibility for this grave incident,” a Jordanian foreign ministry statement said, “strongly condemning” the incident.

Amman subsequently announced the cancellation of a summit on brokering peace in the region due to the involvement of US President Joe Biden, who postponed his trip to Amman in response.

Dozens of protesters attempted unsuccessfully to storm the Israeli embassy compound in Amman an AFP journalist said.

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People inspect the damage at Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza on October 18, 2023, following a blast which ripped through it a day earlier killing hundreds. (Photo by Dawood NEMER / AFP)

 EU

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell deplored that “once again, innocent civilians pay the highest price.”

“The responsibility for this crime must be clearly established & the perpetrators held accountable,” he wrote on X.

 Iran

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi declared a day of “public mourning” on Wednesday and said the strike on the hospital would turn against Israel and its US ally.

“The flames of the US-Israeli bombs, dropped this evening on the Palestinian victims injured at the… hospital in Gaza, will soon consume the Zionists,” Raisi said, according to the IRNA agency.

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Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the British and French embassies in Tehran overnight. Several thousand gathered earlier in Palestine Square in central Tehran to voice their anger.

 Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani called in a statement for an “immediate and urgent resolution” from the UN Security Council to put an end to the “aggression”.

The government has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the strike.

 Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the incident as “the latest example of Israeli attacks devoid of the most basic human values”, in a message on social media.

“I invite all humanity to take action to stop this unprecedented brutality in Gaza,” Erdogan said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

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 France

French President Emmanuel Macron said “nothing can justify targeting civilians” after the deadly strike on the hospital.

“Humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip must be opened without delay,” he added.

 Hezbollah

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, said in a statement, calling the strike a “massacre” and “brutal crime”.

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Hezbollah’s call came as hundreds of demonstrators scuffled with Lebanese security forces outside the US embassy in the Beirut suburb of Awkar, where protesters chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

 Arab League

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said “the West must stop this tragedy immediately”.

“Our Arab mechanisms document war crimes, and their perpetrators will not be able to escape justice,” he warned.

 African Union

The African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat accused Israel of a “war crime” following the deadly strike.

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“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, formerly Twitter, calling for the international community to act.

 Qatar

Qatar’s foreign ministry called the strike “a brutal massacre” and “a heinous crime against defenceless civilians”.

In a statement, the Gulf state called the attack on Ahli Arab Hospital a “blatant violation of the provisions of international law” and a “dangerous escalation in the course of the confrontations”.

 Indonesia

Indonesia condemned the hospital strike which it said “clearly violates international humanitarian law”.

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“Indonesia also urges the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to immediately take concrete steps to stop attacks and acts of violence in Gaza,” the foreign ministry said.

 Tunisia

Hundreds of angry protesters gathered outside the French embassy in Tunisia on Tuesday, also denouncing the US, after the hospital strike.

“The French and Americans are allies of Zionists,” demonstrators shouted, according to an AFP journalist.

Protesters demanded the recall of both countries’ ambassadors and shouted: “No American embassy on Tunisian territory.”

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 WHO

The World Health Organization condemned the deadly strike and demanded the immediate protection of civilians and health care in the strip.

“WHO strongly condemns the attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital,” the UN health agency said in a statement.

“The hospital was operational, with patients, health- and care-givers, and internally-displaced people sheltering there. Early reports indicate hundreds of fatalities and injuries.”

 ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also condemned the strike, saying “hospitals should be sanctuaries to preserve human life, not scenes of death and destruction”.

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 MSF

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) condemned the strike on the hospital.

“We are horrified by the recent bombing of the Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza City, which was treating patients and hosting displaced Gazans,” it said.

AFP

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