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World reacts as Gaza officials say 500 killed in Israeli strike on hospital

At least 500 people have been killed in an Israeli air raid on al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, according to Palestinian authorities in the besieged territory.

Many world leaders have condemned the attack.

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Here are some of the early key reactions:

African Union

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

“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, calling for the international community to act.

Brazil

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said that the strike on the hospital in Gaza was an “unjustifiable tragedy”, renewing his calls for international humanitarian intervention and a ceasefire in the region.

“The innocent cannot pay for the insanity of war,” Lula wrote in a post on X.

Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack and stressed the importance of adhering to the laws of war.

“The news coming out of Gaza is horrific and absolutely unacceptable … international law needs to be respected in this and in all cases. There are rules around wars and it’s not acceptable to hit a hospital,” Trudeau told reporters.

China

China’s foreign ministry said that it was “shocked by and strongly condemns” a strike on a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds, calling for an “immediate ceasefire”.

“China is shocked by and strongly condemns the heavy casualties caused by the attack on a Gaza hospital,” Beijing’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, adding that the country “calls for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the war”.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

Medecins sans Frontieres condemned the strike on the hospital, stating that they “are horrified by the recent bombing” of the hospital that was treating patients and sheltering displaced Gazans.

“This is a massacre,” Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah, ​an MSF doctor in Gaza, said in the statement.

Egypt

The Egyptian government has issued a statement denouncing the attack “in the strongest terms”, calling on the international community to step in and prevent further violations.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called the “deliberate bombing” a “clear violation of international law”.

European Union

High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell expressed regret following the bombing of the hospital.

“Once again, innocent civilians pay the highest price. The responsibility for this crime must be clearly established and the perpetrators held accountable,” Borrell wrote on X.

President of the European Council Charles Michel said that attacks on civilian infrastructure are not in accordance with international law.

France

French President Emmanuel Macron said “nothing can justify targeting civilians”.

“Humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip must be opened without delay,” he added in a statement posted on X.

Finland

President of Finland Sauli Niinisto condemned attacks on civilians, saying they “are reprehensible.”

He added that international humanitarian law “must be respected” while calling for an investigation into “its violations”.

Translation: Terrible news about the attack on al-Ahli Arab Hospital. Attacks on civilians are reprehensible. International humanitarian law must be respected in all circumstances and its violations must be investigated.

Germany

German Channel Olaf Scholz said that he was “horrified” at the images of the hospital explosion but did not attribute blame for the attack.

“Innocent civilians were injured and killed,” he said in a post on X, adding that a “thorough investigation” is “imperative”.

Hezbollah

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement called for a “day of rage” to condemn the hospital attack, blaming Israel for what it called a “massacre” and “brutal crime”.

Indonesia

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

The government urged 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.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

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

Iran

Iran’s foreign ministry has denounced the air raid as an attack on “unarmed and defenceless people”, Iranian state media reported.

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,” he said, according to the IRNA agency.

Iraq

In a statement, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani called 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.

India

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted a statement on X, saying he is “deeply shocked” by the loss of lives in the strike that befell the hospital on Tuesday night.

“Civilian casualties in the ongoing conflict are a matter of serious and continuing concern,” he said, adding that the perpetrators “should be held responsible.”

Jordan

In a statement on Tuesday, the Jordanian foreign ministry strongly condemned Israel’s attack and emphasised the need for international protection for Palestinian civilians and an end to the fighting.

King Abdullah II said Israel’s bombing of Gaza hospital was a “massacre” and a “war crime” that one cannot be silent about.

Jordan 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.

Palestine

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel crossed “all red lines” by targeting the hospital, calling the attack a “hideous war massacre” that cannot be tolerated.

Abbas also withdrew from the previously scheduled meeting with Biden.

Qatar

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

In a statement, the Gulf state said the attack was a “blatant violation of the provisions of international law”.

“The expansion of Israeli attacks over the Gaza Strip to include hospitals, schools, and other population centres is a dangerous escalation,” the statement added.

Russia

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the strike on al-Ahli Arab Hospital was a shockingly dehumanising crime and said that Israel should provide satellite imagery if it was not involved.

“We qualify such a felonious deed as a crime – as an act of dehumanisation,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Radio Sputnik.

Zakharova said that there was a clear attempt by some to absolve themselves of responsibility and that it was not enough to simply make comments in the media.

“Please be so kind as to provide satellite images, and it would be nice if American partners did it,” Zakharova added.

Saudi Arabia

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

Saudi Arabia, which has ended talks on potential ties with Israel since the Israel-Hamas war flared, has also called the blast a “heinous crime committed by the Israeli occupation forces”.

The Arab League

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that international leaders must “stop this tragedy immediately” in response to the attack.

“What diabolical mind intentionally bombards a hospital and its defenceless inhabitants?” he wrote in a social media post, saying that “Arab mechanisms will document these war crimes and the criminals will not get away with their actions.”

Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the attack in a statement on social media.

“Hitting a hospital containing women, children and innocent civilians is the latest example of Israel’s attacks devoid of the most basic human values,” he said.

“I invite all humanity to take action to stop this unprecedented brutality in Gaza.”

United Arab Emirates

“The United Arab Emirates strongly condemns the Israeli attack that targeted Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in the Gaza Strip,” read a statement published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry stressed the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities and “underlined the importance of the protection of civilians, according to international humanitarian law”.

United Nations

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the strike on the hospital in a statement published by the UN. He also called out the attack on a UNRWA school in al-Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza.

In a post he made on X, Guterres said that he was “horrified by the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in a strike on a hospital in Gaza”, adding that hospitals and medical staff “are protected under international humanitarian law”. He subsequently called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in the war between Israel and Hamas.

United States

President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion” and “the terrible loss of life that resulted”. Biden announced that he had spoken to Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “immediately upon hearing this news”.

World Health Organization (WHO)

“WHO strongly condemns the attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital”, the UN health agency’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on the social media platform X, adding that 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.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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