1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Israel-Hamas war: Gaza reports many dead in hospital strike

Published October 17, 2023last updated October 18, 2023

Arab leaders have pulled out of a planned summit with President Biden amid outrage over a deadly hospital strike in Gaza. Israel Defense Forces rejected accusations they were behind the attack. DW has more.

An injured person is assisted at Shifa Hospital after an air strike hit the nearby al-Ahli Hospital
Palestinian authorities said more than 500 people were killed in the strike on al-Ahli hospitalImage: Mohammed Al-Masri/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Authorities in Gaza say strike on Gaza City hospital killed hundreds

  • Israeli authorities and Palestinian militants have denied responsibility for the attack

  • Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledges solidarity in Tel Aviv, warns other regional actors not to expand the conflict

  • Israel's Netanyahu tells Scholz, 'Hamas are the new Nazis'
  • Red Cross seeks to get more relief into Gaza 
  • Emmanuel Macron expresses anger over Hamas video of Franco-Israeli hostage
Skip next section World leaders condemn deadly hospital strike in Gaza
October 18, 2023

World leaders condemn deadly hospital strike in Gaza

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a strong condemnation of the hospital blast in Gaza that killed hundreds of Palestinians.

"I am horrified by the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in a strike on a hospital in Gaza today, which I strongly condemn," he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"My heart is with the families of the victims. Hospitals and medical personnel are protected under international humanitarian law," he said.

Outrage has been growing over the hospital blast. The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on the matter on Wednesday morning following calls from the UAE and Russia.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and French President Emmanuel Macron joined the condemnation, although like with Guterres, neither said who they believed to be responsible for the strike.

"The news coming from the Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist hospital in Gaza add horror to the tragedy unfolding before our eyes since days," Borrell said.

"Once again, innocent civilians pay the highest price. The responsibility for this crime must be clearly established & the perpetrators held accountable," he added.

"Nothing can justify striking a hospital. Nothing can justify targeting civilians. France condemns the attack on the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, which made so many Palestinian victims,"  President Macron wrote on social media.

"Humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip must be opened back without delay."

US President Joe Biden also expressed his "outrage" over the incident while flying to Tel Aviv where he is expected to stress his support for Israel.

"I am outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted," he said.

Biden said he had directed his national security team to look into what happened. 

Skip next section Jordan plans to hold summit when parties agree to 'stop the war'
October 18, 2023

Jordan plans to hold summit when parties agree to 'stop the war'

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told state-run television that the summit in Amman between regional leaders and the US president would be held at a time when the parties could agree to end the "war and the massacres against Palestinians."

The war between Israel and Hamas was "pushing the region to the brink," he said, adding Jordan would hold the summit when everyone agreed its purpose would be to "stop the war, respect the humanity of the Palestinians and deliver the aid they deserve."

Jordan's King Abdullah was scheduled to host the summit, which would include discussions on providing civilians with humanitarian aid in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had also been set to attend.

Biden has stood firm with Israel and the US has provided Israel with military assistance. He has also similarly underlined the need to deliver aid to millions trapped in the enclave without electricity or water.

The White House said Biden, who is en route to Israel, has spoken to King Abdullah as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Skip next section Biden sets off for Israel as meeting in Jordan is canceled
October 18, 2023

Biden sets off for Israel as meeting in Jordan is canceled

US President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland
Biden is flying to Tel Aviv to show his support to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin NetanyahuImage: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

US President Joe Biden boarded Air Force One in Washington on Tuesday as he set off on a one-day trip to Israel.

His visit comes amid outrage over a blast at a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds of people.

The US president is scheduled to arrive in Israel Wednesday, where he will hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But his trip to Amman for talks with Jordan's King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been canceled.

Jordan's foreign minister told state-run television that Jordan had canceled the summit, saying that the war between Israel and Hamas was "pushing the region to the brink."

A White House statement said the meeting has been postponed "in light of the days of mourning."

"The president sent his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded," the statement added.

Skip next section Biden considering $100 billion funding request for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan
October 18, 2023

Biden considering $100 billion funding request for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan

US President Joe Biden is considering a joint $100 billion supplemental military funding request for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, according to sources who spoke to the Reuters news agency.

The news comes as Biden prepares to depart for visits to Tel Aviv, where he will underline US support for Israel, although a planned trip to Amman to meet Jordanian, Egyptian and Palestinian leaders has reportedly been canceled.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to ramp up preparations for an anticipated ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in response to the deadly October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas militants, Ukraine continues to fight off a Russian assault which has now been going on for over 600 days and China continues to threaten Taiwan.

US senate leaders said earlier on Tuesday they expected Biden to send them a request by the end of this week for billions of dollars in assistance for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan and for security at the US border. Two of the sources said the request was for a full year of funding, explaining its large size.

A congressional source familiar with the request told Reuters that Israel had asked for $10 billion in addition to the $3.8 billion per year it received from the United States under a 10-year agreement that began in 2016.

Skip next section German lawmakers tell DW the violence in Ukraine and the Middle East are linked
October 18, 2023

German lawmakers tell DW the violence in Ukraine and the Middle East are linked

The escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas and Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine have a common denominator, according to two German politicians: Iran.

"I think that Iran is, to a large degree, ultimately behind Hamas' attack on Israel, and that there is also cooperation on certain political questions between Iran and Russia," Jürgen Hardt of the conservative opposition CDU told DW, referring in particular to Iranian-supplied Shahed drones deployed by Russia in Ukraine.

"Russia and Iran have formed a new axis [meaning that] events in the Middle East and Ukraine need to be seen in the same context," he said. "We as a European Union must therefore stand even more firmly together with our transatlantic partners in NATO and, in my opinion, deliver even more decisive aid to Ukraine."

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann from the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), one of the parties in Germany's coalition government, concurred, telling DW:

"Putin will be happy with what is happening in the Middle East because he thinks it distracts from Ukraine. But we, those of us standing by Ukraine, are clearly saying: No, we're not distracted.

"It's actually all linked: the disruption being sowed in Europa, the terror directed against Israel. We as freedom-loving democrats are called upon to follow both conflicts, to stand by Ukraine, to stand by Israel and to make it clear to Russia who will have the last laugh."

Skip next section Netanyahu points finger at 'barbaric terrorists' over hospital strike
October 18, 2023

Netanyahu points finger at 'barbaric terrorists' over hospital strike

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mirrored claims by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli authorities that Palestinian militants themselves were responsible for a deadly blast at a Gazan hospital that has reportedly killed hundreds of people.

In a statement, Netanyahu said: "It was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, and not the IDF."

Earlier, speaking at a press conference alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Israeli Prime Minister described Hamas as "the new Nazis" and compared them to the so-called Islamic State terror network.

Meanwhile, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh has blamed the United States, claiming that Washington has given Israel "cover for its aggression."

Skip next section Israel blames Palestinian militants for deadly hospital strike
October 17, 2023

Israel blames Palestinian militants for deadly hospital strike

Israeli authorities have denied responsibility for the deadly explosion which rocked the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, suggesting that a faulty rocket fired by Palestinian militants themselves was to blame.

An IDF spokesperson added: "Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza.

"An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit."

The claim could not be indepedently verified and Palestinian Islamic Jihad — designated a terrorist group by Israel, the EU and the US, among others — has denied the accusation.

Mark Regev, senior adviser to Netanyahu, told the BBC that Hamas was behind the strike.

"We know that at the time of this tragedy in Gaza, there was a huge barrage against targets in central Israel," Regev said.

"Hamas put out a statement that they were sending a long-range rocket on [the northern Israeli city of] Haifa at this time. Now, no rocket actually reached Haifa. Where did that rocket go? Where did it land?"

"I urge you to be cautious. There are very serious indications that it's not us," Regev continued. "Hamas wants to have a propaganda victory, saying Israel has killed innocent civilians. There's no evidence to support that claim."

The strike on the al-Ahli hospital was the bloodiest single incident in Gaza since Israel launched its retaliatory bombing campaign against Hamas targets in the densely populated strip.

Skip next section Missile scare as Scholz's plane readied to leave Tel Aviv
October 17, 2023

Missile scare as Scholz's plane readied to leave Tel Aviv

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's delegation had to abruptly leave the German government's plane as a result of a missile alarm at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Tuesday evening.

Scholz himself was driven by car to an air shelter in a nearby building while other passengers, including members of the German press corps, were ordered to lie on the ground near the plane.

Overhead, two air-defense missiles were fired by the Israeli military’s "Iron Dome" missile defense system, clearly audible on footage taken from the airfield by Georg Ismar, a reporter for Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

A German government spokesperson said that Scholz himself had seen two rockets shot down.

About half an hour later, Scholz and the rest of the delegation were able to board the "Konrad Adenauer" Airbus A350-900 and take off for Cairo.

Skip next section WHO condemns hospital strike, demands 'immediate protection' for healthcare
October 17, 2023

WHO condemns hospital strike, demands 'immediate protection' for healthcare

The World Health Organization's (WHO) director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, condemned an apparent Israeli attack on a Gaza hospital, which authorities in Gaza say has killed over 500 people.

"[The] WHO strongly condemns the attack on the al-Ahli Hospital in north Gaza," Tedros wrote on social media. "Early reports indicate hundreds of deaths and injuries. We call for the immediate protection of civilians and healthcare and for the evacuation orders to be reversed." 

He concluded his message with a tag saying, "Not a target." 

A further WHO statement argued that while the hospital was a building that Israel had urged Palestinians to leave, this was not possible. 

"The order for evacuation has been impossible to carry out given the current insecurity, critical condition of many patients, and lack of ambulances, staff, health system bed capacity, and alternative shelter for those displaced," the WHO said. 

Israel's military had earlier said it had no information on the alleged airstrike and was investigating the matter.

Skip next section Abbas declares 3 days of mourning following airstrike on Gaza hospital
October 17, 2023

Abbas declares 3 days of mourning following airstrike on Gaza hospital

 People gather around bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza after they were transported to Al-Shifa hopsital, on October 17, 2023.
First images from outside the hospital appeared to show many dead and woundedImage: Dawood Nemer/AFP via Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning following a deadly airstrike on a hospital in Gaza, which authorities in Gaza said killed at least 500 Palestinians.

"What is taking place is genocide. We call on the international community to intervene immediately to stop this massacre. Silence is no longer acceptable," a statement issued by Abbas' Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) said in response to the attack. 

Abbas and the PLO lost control of Gaza to Hamas after elections in 2006 and a violent struggle for power.

At least 500 people have been killed as a result of an Israeli airstrike on the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, the Hamas-run Health Ministry claimed. The Israeli military said it was looking into the report. 

Skip next section Gaza authorities report hundreds of casualties in hospital strike
October 17, 2023

Gaza authorities report hundreds of casualties in hospital strike

At least 500 people have been killed as a result of an Israeli airstrike on the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, the Hamas-run Health Ministry claimed. Hundreds of victims were still under the rubble, it said.

If confirmed, the attack on the al-Ahli Hospital would be by far the deadliest Israeli airstrike in five wars fought since 2008. The Israeli military says it is looking into the report. 

Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for hundreds of people, hoping they would be spared bombardment after Israel ordered all city residents and surrounding areas to evacuate to the south of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning following a deadly air strike on a hospital in Gaza, state media reported.

Around 3,000 people have been killed in Israeli air strikes across the densely-populated enclave since the war erupted on October 7.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, the majority gunned down by Hamas militants who crossed from Gaza and attacked border communities.

Skip next section 6 killed when school sheltering refugees was hit in Gaza — UN
October 17, 2023

6 killed when school sheltering refugees was hit in Gaza — UN

At least six people were killed and dozens were injured when a UN school was hit in the shelling of Gaza, a statement by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said a UNRWA school was hit at the al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza.

"Dozens were injured, including UNRWA staff, and severe structural damage was caused to the school. The numbers are likely to be higher," Lazzarini said. "This is outrageous, and it again shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians. No place is safe in Gaza anymore, not even UNRWA facilities."

At least 4,000 people had taken refuge in the UNRWA school which was targeted, the agency said.

Skip next section Scholz: 'Antisemitism has no place in Germany'
October 17, 2023

Scholz: 'Antisemitism has no place in Germany'

Finally, Scholz has addressed the situation in Germany, which has seen numerous pro-Palestinian demonstrations over the past week, some of which have featured antisemitic rhetoric.

"Antisemitism has no place in Germany," he said. "The glorification and celebration of violence is inhuman, disgusting, illegal and will be punished."

Scholz told Netanyahu: "Jewish life in Germany is a gift. We will protect Jewish institutions."

Skip next section Scholz tells Netanyahu: 'Let us not ignore humanitarian emergency'
October 17, 2023

Scholz tells Netanyahu: 'Let us not ignore humanitarian emergency'

Addressing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Scholz said:

"Germany and Israel are united by the fact that we are democratic states founded on the rule of law. Even in extreme situations, our actions are rooted in law. For this reason, let us not ignore the humanitarian emergency in the Gaza Strip."

Scholz said he had discussed with Netanyahu the provision and access of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

"In contrast to Hamas, who use the citizens of Gaza as human shields, we are concerned about them. We want to protect civilians and avoid civilian victims."

In response, Netanyahu shifted the blame regarding civilians to Hamas, which he said was committing a "double war crime."

"Not only are they targeting and murdering civilians with unprecedented savagery; they're hiding behind civilians, their own civilians. We are calling on civilians to leave Gaza, to go south to safe zones. And Hamas is preventing them, often at gunpoint, from doing so, wanting to keep them there as a human shield.

"The responsibility for all those civilians — hostages of all nationalities and the Palestinians themselves — sits squarely on the shoulders of the Hamas war criminals. It is important that the entire world understands this, condemns this and supports Israel in its just war."

Skip next section Scholz: 'Doing all we can to ensure conflict does not escalate'
October 17, 2023

Scholz: 'Doing all we can to ensure conflict does not escalate'

Scholz has spoken about the need to prevent a further escalation of the conflict across the region.

"My government is doing all it can to ensure that this conflict does not escalate and to avoid a conflagration in the region," he said, adding:

"I explicitly warn any actor to refrain from external intervention in this conflict. It would be a serious, unforgivable mistake. In recent days, we have addressed this message via various channels to those to whom it concerns."

Referring to German citizens among the hostages taken by Hamas, he said:

"There are Germans among those abducted, and our thoughts are with them and all the hostages. We are doing all we can to bring about their release."

Show more posts