Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was amongst the first to rush to blame Israel for a deadly explosion at the Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday.
In the hours afterwards Trudeau reportedly called the situation “absolutely unacceptable.” Speaking in French, he told reporters that “it’s not legal” to bomb a hospital.
“The news coming out of Gaza is horrific,” the prime minister said, Reuters reports.
“International humanitarian and international law needs to be respected in this and in all cases. There are rules around wars and it’s not acceptable to hit a hospital.”
— Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) October 17, 2023
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres also saw the action as a directed air strike by a hostile force.
I am horrified by the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in a strike on a hospital in Gaza today, which I strongly condemn. My heart is with the families of the victims. Hospitals and medical personnel are protected under international humanitarian law.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 17, 2023
Health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave claimed hundreds of people died in the explosion, which they also blamed on Israel.
As Breitbart News reported, the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror organization was responsible for the catastrophe, due to a misfired rocket intended to kill Israeli civilians, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The IDF have since released audio they say shows the terrorists reacting once they realise their mistake.
Islamic Jihad struck a Hospital in Gaza—the IDF did not.
Listen to the terrorists as they realize this themselves: pic.twitter.com/u7WyU8Rxwz
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 18, 2023
Hamas and critics of Israel rushed to blame an Israeli airstrike. News wires, like the Getty photo service, published unproven claims Israel had “attack[ed]” the hospital, citing the “Gaza Health Ministry,” which is run by Hamas.
The BBC’s early reporting pointed a finger at Israel for the disaster.
Of all the misreporting last night, I think this from the BBC is perhaps the most egregious.
Ignores that an arsenal of varied rockets are fired out of Gaza. Ignores that Iron Dome specifically targets missiles aiming for civilian areas.
— Daniel Sugarman (@Daniel_Sugarman) October 18, 2023
The Irish Times newspaper was also quick to rush its reportage.
This is the most-read story on the @IrishTimes in the last 12 hours. It says "hundreds still trapped in the rubble" of the bombed hospital.
But photos this AM show that there is no rubble. The hospital is intact. So how did the Times source this story?https://t.co/rYXLulMB61
— John McGuirk (@john_mcguirk) October 18, 2023
U.S. President Joe Biden threw his support behind Israel’s account of the strike, telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “it appears as though it was done by the other team” after landing in Israel for a high-stakes solidarity visit, as Breitbart News reported.
Hamas fired back at the comments from the Israeli military, saying “its outrageous lies do not deceive anyone”.
Israel’s Arab allies blamed it for the hospital deaths, despite the military’s denials, AFP reports.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which both established ties with Israel in the Abraham Accords of 2020, condemned the “Israeli” attack.
Morocco, another country that recognised Israel in 2020, also blamed it for the strike, as did Egypt, which became the first Arab country to normalise relations in 1979.