Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the bombing of a hospital in Gaza is not legal and is calling the situation “absolutely unacceptable.”
Trudeau was responding to unfolding reports coming out of Gaza, where the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said that an Israeli airstrike hit a hospital in Gaza City, killing hundreds of Palestinians, including people using the hospital as shelter.
A spokesman for the Israeli military said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the strike did not come from them.
“From the analysis of the operational systems of the IDF, an enemy rocket barrage was carried out towards Israel, which passed through the vicinity of the hospital when it was hit,” the statement said. “According to intelligence information, from several sources we have, the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital.”
Trudeau said in French, speaking to reporters on his way into the House of Commons, that “it’s not legal” to bomb a hospital.
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Trudeau has repeatedly said that wars have international rules that must be followed, and says Canada is working with allies to get a humanitarian corridor established so supplies can be brought into Gaza.
Aid organizations are warning that the territory is near collapse, and Trudeau told reporters that hitting a hospital is “not acceptable.”
The Health Ministry run by Hamas said at least 500 people had been killed in the hospital strike.
Photos purportedly from al-Ahli Hospital shared widely on social video showed fire engulfing the building, widespread damage and bodies scattered in the wreckage. The photos could not be independently verified.
Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for hundreds of people, hoping they would be spared bombardment after Israel ordered all residents of the city and surrounding areas to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip.
The latest conflict follows an attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas that killed more than 1,400 Israelis.
Hamas called Tuesday’s hospital strike “a horrific massacre.” It said in a statement that most of the casualties were displaced families, patients, children and women.
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In the south, Israeli airstrikes killed dozens of civilians and at least one senior Hamas figure Tuesday as U.S. officials worked to convince Israel to allow delivery of supplies to desperate civilians, aid groups and hospitals after days of failed hopes for an opening in the siege.
Shelling from Israeli tanks hit a U.N. school in central Gaza where 4,000 Palestinians had taken refuge, killing six people and wounding dozens, the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency said. At least 24 U.N. installations have been hit the past week, killing at least 14 of the agency’s staff.
An airstrike in Deir al Balah reduced a house to rubble, killing a man and 11 women and children inside and in a neighboring house, some of whom had evacuated from Gaza City. Witnesses said there was no warning before the strike.
In Gaza, dozens of injured were rushed to hospitals after heavy attacks outside the southern cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, residents reported. Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas official and former health minister, reported 27 people were killed in Rafah and 30 in Khan Younis.
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An Associated Press reporter saw around 50 bodies brought to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. Family members came to claim the bodies, wrapped in white bedsheets, some soaked in blood.
The Israeli military said it was targeting Hamas hideouts, infrastructure and command centers.
Aid organizations are warning that Gaza is close to complete collapse as Israel’s military continues bombing it, with Gaza’s hospitals running out of supplies.
More than a million people in the north were also ordered by the Israel Defense Forces to leave their homes last week ahead of an expected ground invasion.
The World Health Organization has characterized that evacuation order as a “death sentence” for hospital patients. It is also urging parties to agree to let staff and life-saving supplies into the region.
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With Israel barring entry of water, fuel and food into Gaza since Hamas’ brutal attack last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken secured an agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss creation of a mechanism for delivering aid to the territory’s 2.3 million people.
U.S. officials said the gain might appear modest, but stressed that it was a significant step forward.
Still, as of Tuesday, there was no deal in place. A top Israeli official said Tuesday his country was demanding guarantees that Hamas militants would not seize any aid deliveries. Tzahi Hanegbi, head of Israel’s National Security Council, suggested entry of aid also depended on the return of hostages held by Hamas.
“The return of the hostages, which is sacred in our eyes, is a key component in any humanitarian efforts,” he told reporters, without elaborating whether Israel was demanding the release of all of the roughly 200 people Hamas abducted before allowing supplies in.
U.S. President Joe Biden prepared to head to the region as he and other world leaders tried to prevent the war from sparking a broader regional conflict. Violence flared Tuesday along Israel’s border with Lebanon, where Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants operate.
With tens of thousands of troops massed along the border, Israel has been expected to launch a ground invasion into Gaza — but plans remained uncertain.
“We are preparing for the next stages of war,” military spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said. “We haven’t said what they will be. Everybody’s talking about a ground offensive. It might be something different.”
—With files from the Associated Press