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Biden arrives in Tel Aviv, backs Israel's account of Gaza hospital blast

by Martin Fornusek October 18, 2023 5:01 PM 2 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US, on Oct. 17, 2023. (Samuel Corum/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in Israel on Oct. 18 in a show of support for the country amid the conflict with Hamas, supporting Tel Aviv's account of the Gaza hospital explosion a day earlier.

"I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion of the hospital in Gaza yesterday, and based on what I've seen, it was done by the 'other team' and not you," Biden said during a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said on Oct. 17 that hundreds of people had been killed in an Israeli strike against the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza.

Israel "categorically" denied the accusation, saying that the hospital was hit by a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad, a radical Palestinian militant group. Israeli authorities later published footage which they say proves their account of the event.

Hundreds reportedly killed in strike on Gaza hospital, Hamas and Israel trade blame
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, hundreds of people have reportedly been killed in a strike on a Gaza City hospital on Oct. 17. Hamas blamed an Israeli air strike, while Israel claims the hospital was hit by a rocket misfired by a radical Palestinian militant group.

The incident sparked condemnations from the world's leaders. Several leading media outlets say they could not independently verify statements of either side.

Upon his arrival in Tel Aviv, the U.S. president reaffirmed Washington's support for Israel and condemned Hamas' actions.

"Terrorist group Hamas has slaughtered, as has been pointed out, over 1,300 people – and it is not a hyperbole to say 'slaughtered' – including 31 Americans," Biden said at the press conference.

Following Hamas' deadly attack on Israeli settlements on Oct. 7, Israel has launched retaliatory strikes against Gaza and announced a "total" blockade of the region. According to Palestinian officials, over 3,000 people have been killed in Israeli strikes.

Biden was also scheduled to travel to Jordan to meet King Abdullah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. However, the Jordanian government canceled this trip following the reports of the Gaza hospital blast.

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