Erdoğan: "Gaza hospital attack was unprecedented brutality, Israel's policies are inhumane"

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hospital

The strike on a hospital full of women, children and innocent civilians is the latest example of Israel's policies completely devoid of basic human values, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The Turkish president added, "I call on all humanity to take action to stop this unprecedented atrocity in Gaza."

Palestinian officials say hundreds were killed by a massive blast at a Gaza hospital on Tuesday.

Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital was sheltering thousands of displaced people when it was bombed Tuesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement. Many victims are still under the rubble, it added.

Palestinian officials blamed ongoing Israeli airstrikes for the lethal incident. But the Israel Defense Forces has “categorically” denied any involvement in the hospital attack, blaming instead a “failed rocket launch” by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, a rival Islamist militant group in Gaza.

“We did not strike that, and that the intelligence that we have suggests that it was a failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad, and I want to add, categorically, that we do not intentionally strike any sensitive facilities, any sensitive facilities, and definitely not hospitals,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told CNN.

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Gaza has been under siege by Israel for more than a week, in response to the deadly incursion by Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the coastal enclave, home to 2.2 million people.

Hospitals meanwhile are struggling to tend to the wounded across the territory, operating with shortages of electricity and water.

The Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in the center of Gaza City was sheltering thousands of people who had been forcibly evacuated, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Hamas, which controls the enclave, said more than 500 people were killed by the bombing. The Palestinian Health Ministry earlier said preliminary estimates indicate that between 200 to 300 people died in the attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed the “barbaric terrorists in Gaza” for “attacking” the hospital on Tuesday.

“Whoever brutally murdered our children is also murdering their children,” he added.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari later told CNN the IDF has communications between militants in Gaza “saying this is an Islamic Jihad event” as well as drone footage showing strike impact on the hospital’s parking lot, but not the hospital itself.

Hagari said the IDF will soon release that footage and audio of the intercepted communications.

As Israeli and Gazan officials blame the other for the hospital tragedy, protests have sprung up in a number of Middle Eastern cities including Amman, where protesters attempted to reach the Israeli embassy.

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In a parallel development, Israel's National Security Council called on all Israelis to leave Turkey immediately, raising travel warnings to the highest possible level.

Israeli bombardment has killed at least 3,000 people, including 1,032 girls and 940 boys, and wounded 12,500 in Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said Tuesday. Casualties in Gaza over the past 10 days have now surpassed the number of those killed during the 51-day Gaza-Israel conflict in 2014.

While the IDF has said it does not target hospitals, the UN and Doctors Without Borders say Israeli airstrikes have struck medical facilities, including hospitals and ambulances.

On Tuesday, Israeli warplanes hit two densely populated refugee camps and an UNRWA school housing displaced people in central Gaza killed at least 18 people and injured scores, Palestinian officials said.

The IDF said that high-level Hamas commander Ayman Nofal was killed in the airstrikes in Gaza on Tuesday.

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In the occupied West Bank at least 61 people have been killed, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Tuesday. At least 20 humanitarian workers from the UN, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent have been killed in Gaza, the UN said.

Meanwhile, health services within Gaza are on the brink and food and water supplies are running low. Twenty out of 23 hospitals were offering partial services because fuel reserves are “almost totally depleted,” the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warned on Tuesday.

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