The health ministry in the Gaza Strip says hundreds of victims are trapped under the rubble of al-Ahli Arabi Hospital after up to 700 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday.
US President Biden landed just before 11 a.m. local (4 a.m. eastern) in Israel on Wednesday to signal Washington’s support, his second visit to a war zone this year.
Thousands of civilians were seeking medical treatment and shelter in the hospital from relentless Israeli airstrikes when the attack took place.
The attack is the deadliest Israeli airstrike since 2008, the Palestinian Civil Defense said.
“The massacre at al-Ahli Arabi Hospital is unprecedented in our history. While we’ve witnessed tragedies in past wars and days, but what took place tonight is tantamount to genocide,” spokesman Mahmoud Basal said.
The media office of Hamas described the attack as a “war crime.”
“The hospital was housing hundreds of sick and wounded, and people forcibly displaced from their homes” because of other strikes, a statement said.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) condemned the Israeli attack as genocide.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning following the Israeli air strike.
Photos from al-Ahli Hospital showed fire engulfing the hospital halls, shattered glass and body parts scattered across the area.
Raz Segal, a Holocaust and genocide studies expert, speaking to Democracy Now in a televised interview, said “what we are seeing now in Gaza is a case of genocide”.
UNRWA, the refugee agency, said at least six Palestinians sheltering in one of their schools located in the al-Maghazai refugee camp were killed Tuesday by Israeli bombing.
The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) accused the UK government and arms industry of complicity in war crimes committed by the Israeli government.
In a statement, CAAT said it is demanding the government revoke all licenses for arms exports, and are backing the calls from Palestinian trade unions for workers to refuse to build or export weapons to Israel.
Biden’s visit followed head of US Central Command Gen. Erik Kurilla’s arrival in Tel Aviv for meetings with Israeli military authorities a day earlier. Biden will also travel to Jordan to meet with Arab leaders amid fears the fighting could spread in the region.
This comes as the humanitarian situation is getting worse by the hour in Gaza, with hospitals facing a collapse.
The situation in the Gaza Strip is spialling out of control, the head of the UN health agency warned on Wednesday.
“The situation in #Gaza is spiralling out of control,” the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X, formerly Twitter.
“Every second we wait to get medical aid in, we lose lives,” he said. “We need immediate access to start delivering life-saving supplies.”
Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan condemned the Israeli airstrike on the hospital.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kan’ani called the attack as a brutal act of war crime and genocide.
“The Zionist regime… by committing this heinous and atrocious crime, once again revealed its savagery and inhumanity to the world and proved that it has no slightest adherence to the principles and rules of international law during times of war,” he said.
Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for Palestinians hoping to be spared Israeli bombardments, which began on October 7.