President Joe Biden said he was outraged following an explosion at a hospital in Gaza City that killed hundreds of people, saying the United States would continue to investigate to determine “what exactly happened.”
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said the blast ripped through the Al Ahli Arab hospital on Tuesday night, where thousands of civilians injured in the ongoing conflict with Israel were being treated. Hamas immediately blamed an Israeli airstrike, calling the attack a “horrific massacre,” while Israel rejected that claim, instead blaming militants it said had fired rockets near the hospital during a “failed” launch.
Regardless, as many as 500 people were killed in an explosion that left bodies strewn across the street. The medical facility was packed with Gazans seeking shelter and care as Israel prepares for a widely expected invasion in the coming days.
“I am 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 in a statement. “Immediately upon hearing this news, I spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and have 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,” the president added.
Biden is en route to Tel Aviv to demonstrate the United States’ solidarity with Israel and to work to avoid a broader war in the region. He had planned to go to Amman, Jordan, to meet with leaders there, but that trip was postponed after the deadly hospital blast.