Gaza hospital strike: Israel claims IDF not to blame for deadly airstrike as hundreds killed in hospital blast
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Israeli officials have denied claims that the country's military launched a deadly airstrike on a hospital in Gaza which killed hundreds of people.
Palestinian officials said following the blast at the al Ahli Hospital that the source was from an Israeli airstrike, adding that they believe at least 500 people were killed in the blast. The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has in-turn claimed that the blame for the shocking strike lies with an Islamist militant group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Both sides deny responsibility for the incident.
The IDF's Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the military, said that Israel will release evidence that the country claims proves the militant group was responsible. This includes drone footage from the attack and an intercepted conversation.
Rear Admiral Hagari said that no Israeli aircraft has been operating in the area at the time of the blast and also claimed that the impact of the blast was evidence that Israel did not fire in the direction of the hospital. He said that the impact could not have been caused by the jets used by the IDF.
The blast has sparked protests in the West Bank and in Arab countries, including Lebanon and Libya. Protesters gathered outside the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, where that sparked a large fire. Demonstrators also protested in Iranian capital Tehran, Libyan capital Tripoli and in areas of Turkey and Jordan.
The UK's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has vowed that the UK will work to "find out what really happened" to cause the blast at the al Ahli Hopsital in Gaza. In a post on X (formerly Twitter), 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."
The White House has said that it "recognises" that Israel feels "very strongly" that it was not the source of the airstrike. Spokesman John Kirby said: "The Israelis have categorically and very stridently denied that they had anything to do with it."
US President Joe Biden is due to make the trip to Israel on Wednesday (18 October) to express his solidarity, however a meeting with Arab leaders in Jordan has been scrapped over outrage at the hospital deaths. Mr Kirby said that the decision to cancel the Jordan summit was a "mutual decision".