By Diego Ramos / SP Staff
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An Israeli airstrike on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City has killed more than 500 people, according to Palestinian health authorities and journalists on the ground.
According to Al Jazeera journalist Maram Humaid, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported an initial estimate of 200-300 casualties. The health ministry has updated estimates to 500 people killed.
Tareq Abu Azzoum, reporting for Al Jazeera from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, detailed that the bombing on the hospital courtyard came without warning and has caused significant damage to the building, which continues to provide medical services.
“This hospital contains hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinians injured during the continuing Israeli attacks on the besieged enclave.
It is crowded with civilians. Just at this moment, hundreds of wounded people have reached the hospital. The area is full of residential buildings.
This is a true massacre that has taken place,” Azzoum reports.
Journalist Younis Tirawi spoke to people in the hospital, who described seeing thousands of people taking shelter, thinking the hospital was a safe haven.
Tirawi also reported a statement from Donald Binder, the undersecretary to the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, who warned against Israeli airstrikes two days prior to the Oct. 17 bombing. Binder noted the severe damage done to the ultrasound and mammography sections of the hospital and pleaded for anyone with influence in the Israeli government to call off any future strikes.
Journalist Dan Cohen posted a phone conversation with Dr. Mohamad Ziara from Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, as it prepares to receive casualties and injured civilians from the al-Ahli attack:
Mahmoud Basal, a spokesperson for 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, what took place tonight is tantamount to a genocide.”
Representative from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Nebal Farsakh, echoed the sentiment stating to Al Jazeera:
“Those who were in front of the hospital were forced to leave their homes under the evacuation order. They can’t even afford to evacuate to the south. There’s complete destruction of the infrastructure and transportation,” she said. “They are forced t[o] evacuate themselves under continuous bombardment. The only available [refuge] is a hospital, so they’re thinking that they would be in a safe place.
“This is genocide. This is a war crime,” she said.
Diego Ramos, ScheerPost managing editor and New York bureau chief, is a journalist from Queens, NY. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has previously worked at BuzzFeed News and was managing editor of Annenberg News at USC. He’s covered and researched myriad topics including war, politics, psychedelic research and sports.