Protests erupted outside the U.S. embassy in Beirut just hours after a blast at a hospital in Gaza that Hamas claims killed at least 500 people and has more trapped under rubble.
Iran-backed Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, made the call for the day of protest in Beirut in a statement late on Tuesday, after Palestinian officials said hundreds of people were killed in the strike on the hospital.
Israel’s military denied responsibility for the bombing, saying military intelligence suggested the hospital was hit by a failed rocket launch by the enclave’s Palestinian Islamic Jihad military group.
Islamic Jihad denied that any of its rockets were involved in the hospital blast.
Hundreds of Lebanese protesters, some waving Palestinian flags, gathered late into Tuesday night outside the U.S. embassy in response to the incident. Others gathered outside the French embassy in Beirut.
Protests erupted outside the U.S. embassy in Beirut just hours after a blast at a hospital in Gaza that Hamas claims killed at least 500 people and has more trapped under rubble
Hundreds of Lebanese protesters, some waving Palestinian flags, gathered late into Tuesday night outside the U.S. embassy in response to the incident. Others gathered outside the French embassy in Beirut
Tear gas was fired at protesters near the U.S. embassy in Lebanon.
In denouncing what the group said was a strike by Israel, Hezbollah said in its statement: ‘The attack reveals the true criminal face of this entity and its sponsor … the United States, which bears direct and complete responsibility for this massacre.’
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Video from the hospital showed fire engulfing the building and the hospital’s grounds strewn with bodies, many of them young children. Hundreds of people were reportedly seeking shelter at the hospital at the time of the blast, which Hamas has called a ‘horrific massacre’ and a ‘crime of genocide’.
About 6,000 Palestinians were sheltering at the hospital, which is reportedly funded by the Anglican Church.
The carnage came as the US tried to convince Israel to allow the delivery of supplies to desperate civilians, aid groups and hospitals in the tiny Gaza Strip, which has been under a complete siege since the deadly rampage by Hamas in southern Israel.
It also came a day before US President Joe Biden was due to visit the region to show support for Israel and try to prevent the war from spreading. Palestine’s president Mahmoud Abbas is understood to have cancelled the meeting with Biden in protest over the airstrike.
Lebanese protesters wave Palestinian national flags and shout slogans in solidarity with the people of Gaza in down town Beirut, after a strike on a hospital in the Gaza Strip
Tear gas was fired at protesters near the U.S. embassy in Lebanon.
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip says at least 500 people have been killed in an explosion that it says was caused by an Israeli airstrike
Unverified photographs circulating on social media showed fire engulfing the hospital halls, shattered glass and body parts scattered across the area
An analysis of IDF operational systems has indicated that the Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation is ‘responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital’.
The military, in a statement, said that a ‘barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit’.
An IDF spokesperson added: ‘Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza.’
The Islamic Jihad is another Gaza-based terrorist group which has claimed to be fighting Israel alongside Hamas. The group has denied responsibility for the attack.
The Israeli army earlier on Tuesday said that a hospital is a ‘highly sensitive building’ and is ‘not an IDF target’, and urged ‘everyone to proceed with caution when reporting unverified claims of a terrorist organisation’.
World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on X, formerly Twitter: ‘WHO strongly condemns the attack on al-Ahli Hospital in north Gaza. 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.’
But Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: ‘The entire world should know: It was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF. Those who brutally murdered our children also murder their own children.’
Scores of injured people are being taken to Al-Shifa Hospital following Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday
An injured young child is carried by an apparent medic after an airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has also blamed the United States for the attack, saying in a televised speech late on Tuesday that Washington gave Israel ‘the cover for its aggression.’
‘The hospital massacre confirms the enemy’s brutality and the extent of his feeling of defeat,’ he said, adding that the attack will be ‘a new turning point.’
Haniyeh called on all Palestinian people ‘to get out and confront the occupation and the settlers.’ He also called on all Arabs, and Muslims to stage protests against Israel.
Mark Regev, senior adviser to Mr Netanyahu, told the BBC Israel would not ‘deliberately target a hospital’.
He said: ‘My information, that I have just received from the highest authority … is that all indications are that this was not Israeli orders, that this was rather a Hamas rocket that fell short.’
Former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal also called for protests in front of Israeli embassies across the world after the hospital blast.
In the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters throwing rocks and chanting against Abbas as popular anger boiled over after the blast.
Clashes with Palestinian security forces broke out in a number of other cities in the West Bank, which is ruled by Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, late on Tuesday, witnesses said.
In the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters throwing rocks and chanting against Abbas as popular anger boiled over after the blast
People clash with Palestinian security forces during a rally in solidarity with the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Tuesday
Demonstrators are seen flooding the streets of Ramallah on Tuesday evening in support of the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip
Protesters and Palestinian security forces clash during a rally in Ramallah on Tuesday night
Hundreds of people joined protests that erupted in Beirut and Amman, where an angry crowd gathered outside the Israeli embassy.
And in Tunisia hundreds gathered outside French embassy as they denounced the European country – who have ‘firmly’ denounced the strike – and the US as ‘allies of Zionists’.
Hezbollah in Lebenon announced ‘a day of unprecedented anger’ against Israel and Biden’s visit to the country, according to a statement released late on Tuesday.
The statement claimed: ‘The attack reveals the true criminal face of this entity and its sponsor…the United States, which bears direct and complete responsibility for this massacre.’
Rishi Sunak is considering a visit to Israel as soon as tomorrow to offer support and discuss how to stop the conflict triggering a wider regional war. Downing Street declined to comment on the Prime Minister’s travel plans last night. But senior Tories expect him to go in the coming days and Sky News reported that he could also visit Jordan and Egypt.
The Prime Minister has defended Israel’s ‘absolute right’ to defend itself. He told MPs that the UK would not ‘prescribe’ how Israel’s forces should go about rooting out Hamas from strongholds in Gaza – and rescuing hostages, including British nationals. But UK diplomats are privately urging Israel to ensure its operations do not break international law.
Mr Sunak is also pushing for Israel to open a ‘humanitarian corridor’ to allow people trapped in Gaza to escape to Egypt.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the UK will work with allies to find out the cause of an explosion at a hospital in Gaza which has killed hundreds of people.
In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Cleverly said the UK had been ‘clear’ that civilians must be protected in Gaza.
He said: ‘The destruction of Al Ahli hospital is a devastating loss of human life.
‘The UK has been clear. The protection of civilian life must come first.
‘The UK will work with our allies to find out what has happened and protect innocent civilians in Gaza.’
With tens of thousands of troops massed along the border, Israel has been expected to launch a ground invasion into Gaza – but plans remained uncertain.
Protesters are pictured following a clash with security forces at a rally in solidarity with the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip in the West Bank city of Ramallah
Clashes with Palestinian security forces broke out in a number of other cities in the West Bank, which is ruled by Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, late on Tuesday
‘We are preparing for the next stages of war,’ military spokesman Lt Col Richard Hecht said. ‘We haven’t said what they will be. Everybody’s talking about a ground offensive. It might be something different.’
Meanwhile, ambulances and private cars have rushed some 350 casualties from the al-Ahli blast to Gaza City’s main hospital, al-Shifa, already overwhelmed with wounded from other strikes, said its director, Mohammed Abu Selmia.
‘We are squeezing five beds into a single tiny room. We need equipment, we need medicine, we need beds, we need everything,’ Mr Abu Selmia said, warning that the fuel supply for the hospital’s generators will run out on Wednesday. ‘I think Gaza’s medical sector will collapse within hours.’
Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for hundreds of Palestinians after Israel ordered all residents of the city and surrounding areas to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip.
The al-Ahli Hospital was housing hundreds of ‘sick’, ‘wounded’ and ‘forcibly displaced’ people when it was attacked, Hamas has claimed.
The terrorist group, in a statement on its Telegram channel, alleged that most of the casualties at al-Ahli Hospital were ‘displaced families, patients, children and women’.
The statement added: ‘This also exposes the American and Western support for this criminal occupation.
‘The international community and the Arab and Islamic countries must assume their responsibilities and intervene immediately, now and not tomorrow… to stop the arrogance of the occupation and its fascist army, and hold it accountable for the genocide it has been committing for the eleventh day in a row in the already blockaded area.’
Abbas has declared three days of mourning following the airstrike on the hospital, according to reports by state media.
An analysis of IDF operational systems (pictured) has indicated that the Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation is ‘responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital’. The Islamic Jihad has denied responsibility for the blast
Bodies of Palestinians killed by an explosion at the Ahli Arab hospital are gathered at the front yard of the al-Shifa hospital, in Gaza City on Tuesday
Ambulances and private cars have rushed some 350 casualties from the al-Ahli blast to Gaza City’s main hospital, al-Shifa
An injured person is taken into a hospital after Israeli air strike hit a hospital on Tuesday
He has also canceled his participation in a meeting scheduled Wednesday with Biden and other Mideast leaders, a senior Palestinian official has claimed.
Abbas was scheduled to join Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi at Wednesday’s summit in Amman, Jordan, where they are to discuss the Israel-Hamas war with Biden.
But the senior official said Abbas was withdrawing to protest the alleged Israeli airstrike.
‘The president is very angry after the news of the Israeli massacre at the hospital in Gaza, and he decided to immediately return to Ramallah,’ the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, has claimed.
A Hamas official has also reportedly said they are willing to release all civilian hostages in one hour if Israel ceases its bombing of Gaza. Israel claims at least 199 people were taken hostage by the group last weekend during its surprise attack.
Biden was preparing to head to the region as he and other world leaders tried to prevent the war from sparking a broader regional conflict.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken had arrived in Israel last Thursday with a full-throated message of unequivocal US support for Israel in its campaign to destroy Hamas.
But in meetings with seven Arab leaders over the next three days, Blinken’s tone shifted subtly, talking more prominently about the need for humanitarian aid.
US officials said it had become clear by then that already limited Arab tolerance of Israel’s military operations would evaporate entirely if conditions in Gaza worsened.
They said that outright condemnation of Israel by Arab leaders would be a boon to Hamas and could encourage Iran, according to four officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal administration thinking. That prompted Blinken to press Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on an aid deal.
People gather around bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on the al-Ahli Hospital hospital in central Gaza on Tuesday after they were transported to Al-Shifa hopsital
The al-Ahli Hospital was housing hundreds of ‘sick’, ‘wounded’ and ‘forcibly displaced’ people when it was attacked, Hamas has claimed. The terrorist group, in a statement on its Telegram channel, alleged that most of the casualties at al-Ahli Hospital were ‘displaced families, patients, children and women’. Pictured: Bodies of people killed in the attack
An injured child is taken into a hospital after an alleged Israeli air strike hit a hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday
Scores of injured people are being taken to Al-Shifa Hospital following Israeli airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday
Frightened women and children are pictured following the airstrike on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the assaults on Gaza as a genocide against Palestinians and its foreign minister warned of action by Tehran-backed militant groups if the attacks continued.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said: ‘All options are open and we cannot be indifferent to the war crimes against the people of Gaza.’
He said it was ‘inevitable’ new fronts would open against Israel if the international community failed to stop the war, adding: ‘The resistance front is capable of waging a long-term war with the enemy.’
Biden’s visit to Israel Wednesday will signal the White House’s support for a key ally.
He was also expected travel to Jordan to meet with Arab leaders amid fears the fighting could spread in the region, but new reports indicate Abbas has cancelled the gathering.
Prior to the hospital attack Mr Biden was expected to signal America’s ongoing support for Israel, but also stress the need to protect civilian lives in Gaza, including the need to allow humanitarian aid to enter the territory.
The White House said it had been ‘crystal clear about the need for humanitarian aid’, following warnings of food shortages and water rationing.
The Pentagon said 2,000 troops had been put on deployment alert in response to the escalating crisis, although the White House stressed it did not intend to put US combat forces on the ground.
The US has already deployed two aircraft carriers to the region in attempt to deter hostile acts against Israel.
Israeli soldiers patrol the outskirts of Kibbutz Beeri, following a deadly infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel on Tuesday
Israeli soldiers inspect the remains of a burnt house, following a deadly infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Kibbutz Beeri on Tuesday
A view shows the remains of a family home, following a deadly infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Kibbutz Beeri on Tuesday
The hospital airstrike followed intense bombardments near two towns in southern Gaza on Tuesday that reportedly killed dozens of civilians and at least one senior Hamas figure.
An airstrike in Deir al Balah reduced a house to rubble, killing a man and 11 women and children inside and in a neighboring house, some of whom had evacuated from Gaza City. Witnesses said there was no warning before the strike.
Israel faced fresh accusations of war crimes after reports it had bombed areas in the south of Gaza despite ordering civilians in the north to evacuate there.
The UN called for an investigation after reports that at least 57 people were killed in air strikes on the city of Khan Yunis and close to the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.
Those killed included a family that had evacuated from Gaza City after the Israeli order to leave. Witnesses said no warnings were given before the strike.
The Israeli military said it was targeting Hamas hideouts and command centres. Earlier in the day US secretary of state Antony Blinken held talks with Israel’s emergency national security cabinet, aimed at allowing aid convoys into Gaza through the Rafah crossing. Mr
Separately, the United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees said six people were killed when one of its schools sheltering displaced families was hit, during Israeli air strikes.
UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini called the bombing at Al-Maghazi refugee camp, also in central Gaza, ‘outrageous’ and warned the death toll would likely rise.
‘It again shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians. No place is safe in Gaza anymore, not even UNRWA facilities,’ he added.
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 UN Palestinian refugee agency said. At least 24 UN installations have been hit the past week, killing at least 14 of the agency’s staff.
The Israeli military said it was targeting Hamas hideouts, infrastructure and command centres.
Teams conduct a search and rescue operations following the Israeli airstrikes on a building at Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on October 17, 2023
Israeli troops with a variety of military vehicles at a gathering site at an undisclosed location along the Israel-Gaza border, in southern Israel, 17 October 2023
An Israeli soldier patrolling the Israel-Gaza border today in an armored personnel vehicle
Israeli troops in Armoured Personnel Carriers patrolling along the Israel-Gaza border
A barrage of strikes crashed into the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, levelling an entire block of homes and causing dozens of casualties among families inside, residents said.
Among those killed was one of Hamas’ top military commanders, Ayman Nofal, the group’s military wing said – the most high-profile militant known to have been killed so far in the war.
Nofal, formerly the intelligence chief of Hamas’ armed wing, was in charge of Hamas militant activities in the central Gaza Strip, including coordinating activities with other militant groups.
Netanyahu sought to put the blame on Hamas for Israel’s retaliatory attacks and the rising civilian casualties in Gaza. ‘Not only is it targeting and murdering civilians with unprecedented savagery, it’s hiding behind civilians,’ he said.
In Gaza City, Israeli airstrikes also hit the house of Hamas’ top political official, Ismail Haniyeh, killing at least 14 people. Haniyeh is based in Doha, Qatar, but his family lives in Gaza City. The Hamas media office did not immediately identify those killed.
Israel sealed off Gaza after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that killed over 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and resulted in some 200 taken captive into Gaza. Hamas militants in Gaza have launched rockets every day since, aiming at cities across Israel.
Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed at least 2,778 people and wounded 9,700, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Nearly two-thirds of those killed were children, a ministry official said.
Another 1,200 people across Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead, health authorities said.
More than 1 million Palestinians have fled their homes – roughly half of Gaza’s population – and 60 per cent are now in the approximately 14-kilometer (8-mile) long area south of the evacuation zone, the UN said.
Palestinians rescue a girl from the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike at the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 17, 2023
A Palestinian woman reacts amidst the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike on the Rafah refugee camp, in southern Gaza Strip today
Aid workers have warned that the territory was near complete collapse. Hospitals were on the verge of losing electricity, threatening the lives of thousands of patients, and hundreds of thousands of people searched for bread and water.
The UN agency for Palestinians said more than 400,000 displaced people are crowded into schools and other facilities in the south. The agency said it has only 1 litre of water a day for each of its staff members trapped in the territory.
Israel opened a water line into the south for three hours that benefitted only 14 percent of Gaza’s population, the UN reported.
At the Rafah crossing – Gaza’s only connection to Egypt – truckloads of aid were waiting to enter. The World Food Program said that it had more than 300 tons of food waiting to cross into Gaza.
Repeated reports that an opening was imminent have proven false as negotiations continued to grind on, including the US, Israel and Egypt.
A senior Egyptian official called it a ‘very tough, complicated back-and-forth process’ and said talks were over deliveries through Rafah and Israel’s Karam Shalom crossing to Gaza. He said Israel was insisting to search all aid, and wants to ‘ensure that such aid won’t benefit Hamas.’
He said Egypt proposed that the UN oversee the whole process, including inside Gaza. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to brief the press on the talks.
Officials for Hamas and Israel cast doubt on an immediate opening, saying they were unaware of an agreement.
Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike on the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday
Palestinians search for survivors in the rubble of a family house of Ayman Nofa, one of the top Hamas commanders, following Israeli airstrike at Bureij refugee camp on Tuesday
Aid convoy trucks are seen at the Rafah border with Gaza on Tuesday in North Sinai, Egypt
US officials have worked to convince Israel to allow delivery of supplies to desperate civilians, aid groups and hospitals after days of failed hopes for an opening in the siege.
With Israel barring entry of water, fuel and food into Gaza since the brutal attack by Hamas more than a week ago, Blinken secured an agreement with Netanyahu to discuss creation of a mechanism for delivering aid to the territory’s 2.3 million people.
US officials said the gain might appear modest, but stressed that it was a significant step forward.
Still, as of late Tuesday, there was no deal in place.
A top Israeli official said on Tuesday his country was demanding guarantees that Hamas militants would not seize any aid deliveries.
Tzahi Hanegbi, head of Israel’s National Security Council, suggested entry of aid also depended on the return of hostages held by Hamas.
‘The return of the hostages, which is sacred in our eyes, is a key component in any humanitarian efforts,’ he told reporters, without elaborating whether Israel was demanding the release of all of the roughly 200 people Hamas abducted before allowing supplies in.’
Rockets are fired towards Israel from the Gaza Strip
Palestinians look for survivors after Israeli air strikes in Khan Younis
Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing
A Palestinian man fills a bucket with water at the Rafah refugee camp
Israel evacuated towns near its northern border with Lebanon, where the military has exchanged fire repeatedly with Hezbollah militants.
Israel said it killed four militants wearing explosive vests who were attempting to cross into the country from Lebanon on Tuesday morning. No group immediately claimed responsibility.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Israel’s continuing offensive in Gaza could cause a violent reaction across the region.
‘Bombardments should be immediately stopped. Muslim nations are angry,’ Khamenei said, according to state media.