Hospital strike done by other team: Biden; Israel backs it with ‘proof’

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US President Joe Biden pledged solidarity with Israel on Wednesday, at what became the only stop of a West Asia mission otherwise derailed by a massive explosion at a Gaza hospital, which Biden said appeared to have been caused by Israel’s foes.


Palestinian officials blamed an Israeli air strike for the fireball that engulfed the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital on Tuesday evening, which they said had killed nearly 500 people.


Hamas said in a statement on Wednesday that the US was “blindly biased to Israel,” after Biden appeared to blame a blast at a hospital on the Palestinian militant group.


Israel said the blast was caused by a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group, which denied blame.


Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden said: “I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion of the hospital in Gaza yesterday, and based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.”


“But there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we’ve got a lot, we’ve got to overcome a lot of things,” Biden added.


Biden later said his comment was based on information he had been shown by the US Department of Defense. 


The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) presented further evidence backing up its assertion that the explosion in the parking lot of a Gazan hospital was caused by a misfired rocket launched by Palestinian terrorists, and not by an Israeli airstrike, according to a report by The Times of Israel.


The IDF accused global media outlets of accepting Hamas’s “lies” about the incident.


The army presented an intercepted conversation between Hamas officials saying the explosion was caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad projectile that fell short, and that the parking lot didn’t feature a crater in the ground and no structural damage was dealt to nearby buildings — both of which would typically have been left by an IDF strike.


Meanwhile, thousands of people have rallied across the countries of West Asia and North Africa to protest against the strike. 


On Wednesday, people gathered outside the US and Israeli embassies in Amman, the capital of Jordan. Islamic parties in the country called for a general strike while the Jordanian government declared three days of mourning. In Beirut, protesters clashed with security forces who used water cannons to disperse crowds close to the US embassy. In Tunis, demonstrators gathered at the French embassy in the Tunisian capital, shouting slogans such as “The French and Americans are allies of Zionists”.


Biden warns Israel not to repeat US ‘mistakes’ in 9/11 rage


US President Joe Biden has reportedly cautioned Israelis against getting blinded by rage. Biden warned Israel to not make mistakes that the United States made in rage after the September 11 twin-tower attack. 

 

Biden’s meeting with Arab leaders called off

Biden will no longer fly to Amman for talks about humanitarian assistance after Jordan’s King Abdullah cancelled a summit with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He said the decision was taken by mutual consent after reports that more than 500 people were killed in a blast at a hospital in Gaza. Abbas said after the Gaza hospital strike he would not meet the US President.

Iran calls for oil embargo; Opec+ plans no action

Iran called for an oil embargo against Israel over its air strikes on Gaza. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian called for an “an immediate and complete embargo on the Zionist regime by Islamic countries, an oil embargo against the regime,” according to a ministry statement. He also urged Muslim countries to expel Israeli ambassadors. Meanwhile, Opec+ is not planning to hold an extraordinary meeting or take any immediate action.

Won’t thwart Gaza aid access from Egypt: Israel

President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that Israel had agreed to allow humanitarian assistance to begin flowing into Gaza from Egypt with the understanding it would be subject to inspections and that it should go to civilians and not Hamas militants. A statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office says that Israel “will not thwart humanitarian supplies from Egypt as long as it is only food, water and medicine for the civilian population in Gaza Strip”.

-AP/PTI

 




 

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