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Israel bombs Gaza hospital, killing at least 500

Palestinian children injured in an Israeli airstrike await treatment at the Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, October 17, 2023. (AFP photo)

At least 500 civilians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes on al-Ahli Baptist Hospital amid the regime's relentless aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip, the Health Ministry in the enclave says.

On Tuesday, the health ministry in Gaza said Israeli airstrikes on the central Gaza hospital compound killed hundreds of people, mainly women and children.

"Hundreds of victims are still under the rubble," it added.

Thousands of civilians were seeking medical treatment and shelter in the hospital from relentless Israeli airstrikes.

The attack is the deadliest Israeli airstrike in five wars fought since 2008, the Palestinian Civil Defense said.

“The massacre at al-Ahli Arab Hospital is unprecedented in our history. While we’ve witnessed tragedies in past wars and days, but what took place tonight is tantamount to genocide,” spokesman Mahmoud Basal said.

The media office of Hamas described the attack as a "war crime."

"The hospital was housing hundreds of sick and wounded, and people forcibly displaced from their homes" because of other strikes, a statement said.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) condemned the Israeli attack as genocide.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning following the Israeli air strike.

Photos from the Ahli Arab Hospital showed fire engulfing the hospital halls, shattered glass and body parts scattered across the area.

Israel's military campaign had already left at least 3,000 dead inside Gaza before the hospital was destroyed.

Entire Gaza neighborhoods have been razed and survivors are left with dwindling supplies of food, water and fuel, unable to flee the 40-kilometer long strip that has been blockaded since 2007 by Israel and Egypt.

The situation in the Gaza Strip is spiraling out of control, head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Wednesday.

"Every second we wait to get medical aid in, we lose lives," he said. "We need immediate access to start delivering life-saving supplies."

Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan condemned the Israeli airstrike on al-Ahli al-Arab Hospital.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kan'ani censured the attack as a brutal act of war crime and genocide.

"The Zionist regime... by committing this heinous and atrocious crime, once again revealed its savagery and inhumanity to the world and proved that it has no slightest adherence to the principles and rules of international law during times of war," he said. 

Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for Palestinians hoping to be spared Israeli bombardments, which began on October 7.

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