Protest In Middle East Countries Following Gaza Hospital Strike Killing More Than 600

gaza hospital attack

The strike on a Gaza Strip hospital that killed more than 600 Palestinians has sparked protests and riots in several Muslim-majority countries on Tuesday night, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Türkiye. 

Beirut

In Beirut, where the pro-Palestinian militant group Hezbollah has called for “a day of unprecedented anger,” protesters gathered in front of the U.S. embassy building in the Awkar neighborhood.

They threw stones at the security fence and attempted to scale it. Police responded by firing volleys of tear gas and used water cannons to contain the mob, according to the Lebanese news channel MTV.

Protesters also reportedly attempted to break into the office of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in downtown Beirut.

Amman

Similar scenes unfolded in Jordan’s capital Amman, where an angry crowd burned Israeli flags and tried to storm the Israeli embassy. An AFP correspondent reported that they broke through the first security barrier, but were later pushed back by the police, which used tear gas.

“Police handled and drove a group of protesters who grouped near an embassy in an attempt to reach the building,” Jordan’s Public Security Directorate said, as quoted by Roya News.

Amman was to host a summit of the leaders of the U.S., Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday. The Jordanian authorities have since canceled the event in solidarity with the victims in Gaza.

Turkish Cities

Rallies were held in multiple Turkish cities, including Istanbul, Malatya, Gaziantep, and Kayseri.

In Istanbul, Türkiye’s largest city, a huge crowd gathered outside the Israeli consulate, with some protesters launching fireworks, scaling the security fence, and attempting to set the building on fire. Others threw stones and set a US flag on fire, local media reported.

Police intervened, dispersing the rioters. Fahrettin Altun, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urged those wanting to express “justified anger” over the deaths in Gaza to respect the law and “preserve common sense.”

The Palestinian authorities blamed Israel for the strike on the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City that claimed more than 600 lives on Tuesday.

The Israeli army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, said that the hospital was hit by a rocket that was launched by one of the Palestinian militant groups and had veered off course. Israeli officials previously accused Hamas, a group that governs Gaza, of using hospitals, schools, and mosques as a cover for its operatives.

The Israel Defense Forces have been conducting retaliatory strikes on Gaza after Hamas and allied militants launched a surprise attack on Israeli cities on October 7.

Hundreds Dead In Gaza Hospital Bombing

Al Alhli Press Conference

More than 600 people have been reported dead and over 900 wounded after a missile struck the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinians were sheltering in the building, as well as patients receiving treatment, and there are fears the death toll will grow higher. Israel, which is bombarding Gaza following a bloody incursion by Hamas, has denied responsibility for the strike and accused Palestinian Islamic Jihad of hitting the facility.

A Palestinian Red Crescent representative on Tuesday described the destruction of the Baptist Hospital in Gaza City as a war crime and genocide, while a local doctor called it a massacre.

According to a source, the final death toll could easily reach more than 1,000.

Al-Ahli hospital is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, an Anglican Christian denomination.

Its destruction was denounced by the World Health Organization, Egypt, Qatar and Türkiye, among others.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh insisted that such “brutality” by Israel confirmed its “defeat” on October 7, and said the U.S. was ultimately to blame. 

He also called for Palestinians in the West Bank to rise up against Israel.

Within minutes of Haniyeh’s statement, a riot broke out in Ramallah, as hundreds of Palestinians protested against President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Abbas has reportedly canceled those plans since, citing the hospital attack.

Russia and the United Arab Emirates have called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Wednesday, to discuss the Gaza hospital attack.

Israel And Palestinians Trade Blame For Deadly Hospital Strike

Another media report said:

Israel has denied striking the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, alleging that a Palestinian Islamic Jihad misfire was to blame. PIJ has accused Israel of trying to cover their “massacre” while Hamas has argued the U.S. is ultimately to blame.

Israel has denied striking the hospital, however. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said that “an enemy rocket barrage was carried out towards Israel, which passed through the vicinity of the hospital when it was hit.”

“According to intelligence information, from several sources we have, the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital,” Hagari added. The same claim was echoed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shortly afterwards.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu reposted the IDF claim.

“The entire world should know: It was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF. Those who brutally murder our children also murder their own children,” Netanyahu added later.

A spokesman for PIJ responded by calling the Israeli claims “completely incorrect” and accusing the IDF of “trying to cover for the horrifying crime and massacre they committed against civilians.”

One Palestinian doctor in Gaza described the attack to Al Jazeera as a “massacre,” while a Red Crescent representative in the West Bank called it “genocide” and “a war crime.”

Israel declared “war” on Gaza after the October 7 incursion by Hamas militants that has claimed the lives of more than 1,300 Israelis. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told reporters on Tuesday evening that the hospital attack “confirms the enemy’s brutality and the extent of his feeling of defeat,” dubbing it “a new turning point” in the conflict.

Russia and the UAE have called for an emergency UN Security Council session about the incident.

WHO Condemns Gaza Hospital Attack

The World Health Organization (WHO) has denounced the attack on a Gaza hospital, calling for immediate” protection of civilians in the Palestinian territory. Israel has denied responsibility for the strike and blamed Hamas.

The ‘Israel War Room’ account on X, formerly Twitter, said there was “no air activity” by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) at the time of the explosion, and that it “coincided with a salvo of rockets launched at Israel.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has cited the hospital strike to back out of a planned meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, who is expected to visit Israel and Jordan on Wednesday.

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