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Hamas claims Israeli airstrikes killed 500 people at hospital in Gaza Strip

The airstrike on Gaza City's al-Ahli hospital is likely becoming the deadliest Israeli attack since 2008. Meanwhile, more than 50 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes on southern Gaza, where it has directed people to flee to escape an imminent ground operation.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Gaza City Published on: October 17, 2023 23:40 IST
Smoke rises from a building after Israeli airstrike on
Image Source : AP Smoke rises from a building after Israeli airstrike on Rafah, Gaza

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip claimed that at least 500 people were killed in the al-Ahli hospital due to an explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike. If confirmed, the attack would be the deadliest Israeli airstrike since 2008.

Earlier, the Palestinian health ministry reported that 200 people were killed in the Israeli airstrike on the hospital in Gaza City, where hundreds of people have been taking shelter amid a severe humanitarian crisis.

Pictures sent to AP reportedly showed fire engulfing the hospital halls, shattered glass and body parts scattered across the area. The Israeli military said that it is looking into the report. “We will get the details and update the public. I don’t know to say whether it was an Israeli air strike," said military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari

Since the war broke out after a brutal attack by Hamas, Israeli strikes have killed more than 3,000 people and wounded over 12,700 others in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry. Hamas claimed the lives of at least 1,400 people in Israel.

The Israeli military said Monday at least 199 hostages were taken into Gaza, more than previously estimated. Hamas said it was holding 200 to 250 hostages and has demanded the release of 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the hostages.

Additionally, dozens of people were killed in Israeli airstrikes on southern Gaza on Tuesday where it had directed Palestinians to flee ahead of a possible ground invasion to root out Hamas militants. Basem Naim, a senior Hamas official and former health minister, reported 27 people were killed in Rafah and 30 in Khan Younis.

Israel's current offensive against Hamas

Israel has massed troops at the border for an expected ground offensive, but Israel Defence Forces (IDF) international spokesperson Lt Col Richard Hecht said Tuesday no concrete decisions have been made.

More than 1 million Palestinians have fled their homes, and 60% are now in the approximately 14-kilometre (8-mile) long area south of the evacuation zone, according to the UN. Mediators were trying to reach a cease-fire to open the Rafah border crossing near Egypt, which shut down last week after Israeli airstrikes.

With Israel barring entry of water, fuel and food into Gaza since Hamas’ brutal attack last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken secured an agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss creation of a mechanism for delivering aid to the territory’s 2.3 million people. 

However, no deal has been seen so far. An Israeli official on Tuesday said that the Jewish country was demanding guarantees that Hamas militants would not seize any aid deliveries.

Shelling from Israeli tanks hit a UN school in central Gaza where 4,000 Palestinians had taken refuge, killing six people and wounding dozens, the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency said. At least 24 UN installations have been hit the past week, killing at least 14 of the agency’s staff.

(with AP inputs)

ALSO READ | Top Hamas military commander Ayman Nofal killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza


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