A massive explosion at a hospital in Gaza City killed hundreds of people Tuesday, Hamas said, after intensifying bombardments near towns in southern Gaza rattled civilians where Israel had ordered them to take refuge. Hamas attributed the blast to an Israeli airstrike, but the Israeli military said it was not involved and the explosion was caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.
Hamas’ military wing also said an Israeli airstrike on a refuge camp killed a top Hamas commander.
Thousands of people trying to escape Gaza are gathered in Rafah, which has the territory’s only border crossing to Egypt. Mediators are pressing for an agreement to let aid in and refugees with foreign passports out. The U.S. hoped to break a deadlock with President Joe Biden headed to the region, but a planned summit in Jordan was postponed.
Aid workers warned that life in Gaza was near complete collapse because of the Israeli siege that followed a Hamas attack on Israel.
The war that began Oct. 7 has become the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,778 Palestinians have been killed and 9,700 wounded. That was before the blast at the hospital on Tuesday. Another 1,200 people across Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead. More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, and at least 199 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israel.
1. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says an Israeli airstrike hit a hospital in Gaza City, killing at least 500 people. Israeli authorities have denied involvement in the explosion and say it was caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.
2. U.S. President Joe Biden departed for a visit to Israel on Wednesday. But a planned four-way summit in Jordan has been postponed.
3. A senior Palestinian official said earlier that he would not participate in the now-scrapped talks with Biden, citing the blast at the hospital in Gaza City.
Here’s what’s happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Shifa Hospital, where hundreds of victims of the al-Ahli Hospital blast were taken, will run out of fuel on Wednesday unless more supplies enter the Gaza Strip, the hospital’s general director says.
The hospital, Gaza’s largest, is stretched far beyond its capacity following the al-Ahli explosion, Mohammed Abu Selmia said Wednesday, adding that health workers were still treating severely wounded patients.
“They are all in a terrible situation,” he told The Associated Press. “A young woman whose limbs were amputated, a child whose intestines came out, many others have had limb amputations, bleeding in the brain, bleeding in the liver and spleen.”
He said earlier that doctors were performing operations on the floor without anesthesia and that a shortage of essential medical supplies was an urgent issue.
If the hospital runs out of fuel, it could be forced into a total shutdown of services, he said, adding that doctors would “remain with the sick and wounded.”
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s Interior Ministry said Israel renewed airstrikes before dawn on Wednesday and hit locations across the Gaza Strip after the blast at al-Ahli Hospital. At least 37 people were killed following attacks in the al-Qasasib and Halima al-Saadia areas of Jabalia, north of Gaza, it said.
BEIRUT — Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group says its fighters have hit an Israeli Merkava tank with an anti-tank missile, inflicting casualties among the troops.
The group said the attack early Wednesday targeted an Israeli army position across the border from the Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab. The Israeli army said it is checking reports that an anti-tank missile was fired from Lebanon.
AMMAN, Jordan – Jordan canceled a planned summit with President Joe Biden, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II because it “would not be able to stop the war now,” Jordan’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs said.
Ayman Al-Safadi said in a statement on Wednesday that “Jordan will continue to work with everyone so that when this summit is held, it will be able to achieve what is required of it, which is to stop the war, deliver humanitarian support to the people of Gaza, and put an end to this crisis.”
The summit, originally scheduled for later Wednesday, was cancelled after a blast at a Gaza City hospital killed hundreds of people, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. Hamas blamed an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli military blamed a rocket misfired by other Palestinian militants.
WASHINGTON — The State Department has raised the travel advisory for Lebanon, urging people not to travel to the country “due to the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hizballah or other armed militant factions.”
The advisory issued on Tuesday also urged people to reconsider travel to Lebanon “due to terrorism, civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, kidnapping” and the U.S. Embassy in Beirut’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens. The State Department authorized the voluntary, temporary departure of family members of U.S. government personnel and some non-emergency personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut due to the unpredictable security situation in Lebanon.
The advisory was hiked to Level 4, “Do not travel” — the highest level — from Level 3, “Reconsider travel.”
WASHINGTON — A Treasury official said the U.S. IS renewing plans to pursue Hamas funding streams and called on allies and the private sector to do the same or “be prepared to suffer the consequences.”
“We cannot, and we will not, tolerate money flowing through the international system for Hamas’ terrorist activity,” said Brian Nelson, under secretary for terrorism and illicit finance, at an anti-money laundering conference.
“Treasury will bring our tools to bear against Hamas’ financing and the overall funding of terrorism,” he said.
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Leaders of Western intelligence services said they are attuned to the potential fallout in their home countries of the deadly attacks by Hamas on Israel.
Representatives from intelligence agencies from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia — a coalition known as the “Five Eyes” — convened in California to discuss Chinese economic espionage. But the meeting unfolded against the backdrop of the conflict in the Middle East.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said his agency is working with local law enforcement to address threats of violence against both the Jewish and Muslim communities. It is also working through its legal attache office in Tel Aviv, Israel, to locate and identify Americans who remain unaccounted for after the Oct. 7 attacks.
David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said events like the Hamas attack lead to “soul searching” about “what we know, what we knew, what we can do in our own countries” to protect against similar violence.
UNITED NATIONS — The 22 Arab countries at the United Nations joined in demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza following the devastating explosion and fire at a Gaza City hospital.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, said Arab Group members are “outraged by this massacre” and also united in demanding the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid and preventing “forcible displacement” of Palestinians.
Mansour said that after the “massacre,” the highest objective is a cease-fire because “saving lives is the most important thing.”
Also Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “horrified” at the deaths and “hospitals and medical personnel are protected under international humanitarian law.”
The Security Council scheduled a Wednesday vote on a draft resolution that currently condemns “the heinous terrorist attacks by Hamas” against Israel and all violence against civilians. It also calls for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver desperately needed aid to millions in Gaza.
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden said he is “outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted.”
Biden said he spoke “immediately” after hearing the news with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and “directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened.”
“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy,” Biden said in a statement issued after he departed for the Middle East.
He is to visit Israel on Wednesday, but a meeting with Arab leaders in Jordan has been postponed following the destruction at the hospital.
JERUSALEM — The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group denied Israel’s claim that it was behind the deadly blast at Al-Ahli hospital. It accused Israel of “trying hard to evade responsibility for the brutal massacre it committed.”
“The accusations promoted by the enemy are baseless,” Islamic Jihad said, adding that the group “does not use places of worship or public facilities, especially hospitals, as military centers or weapons stores.”
The group said details such as “the angle of the bomb’s fall and the extent of destruction it left behind” confirm it was similar to Israeli strikes.
The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, also denied Israel’s claim, calling it “lies.”
AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan has called off a four-way summit scheduled for Wednesday with U.S. President Joe Biden and other leaders, the country’s foreign minister told state-run television.
Ayman Safadi told al-Mamlaka TV that the war between Israel and Hamas was “pushing the region to the brink” and the summit would be postponed.
After visiting Israel Wednesday, Biden had planned to travel to Amman for the meeting.
The White House said Biden had hoped to use the summit to discuss the bloody Oct. 7 Hamas militant attack on Israel with the United States’ Arab allies and the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited autonomy in parts of the occupied West Bank.
JERUSALEM — Expressions of condemnation and grief are pouring in after hundreds of people were killed in an explosion at a Gaza City hospital that Hamas attributed to an Israeli airstrike but the Israeli military said was caused by a misfired militant rocket.
Countries such as Syria and Saudi Arabia blamed Israel for the blast, with Libya’s Foreign Ministry accusing Israel of “war crimes and genocide” in the Gaza Strip. Iraq declared three days of mourning, and there were protests there and in Lebanon.
Egypt’s President, Abdul-Fattah el-Sissi, condemned what he called Israel’s “deliberate bombing” of Ahli Arab hospital and “a clear violation of international law … and humanity.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that his country condemns “the attack on the Al-Ahli Arabi hospital” and there’s no justification for targeting a hospital or civilians.
Richard Peeperkorn, World Health Organization representative for the West Bank and Gaza, expressed “our deepest grief at the horror that has unfolded,” calling it “unprecedented even in a region that has seen consistent attacks on healthcare.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement that it was “shocked and horrified by reports that Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza was destroyed.”
The United Arab Emirates and Russia called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says it had no involvement in an explosion that killed hundreds of people at a Gaza City hospital and that the blast was caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says an Israeli airstrike caused the blast, which killed some 500 people, many of whom had sought shelter from an ongoing Israeli offensive.
The Israeli military, however, said Palestinian militants fired a barrage of rockets near the hospital.
“Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch,” it said.
Islamic Jihad is a smaller, more radical Palestinian militant group that often cooperates with Hamas in their shared struggle against Israel.