President Biden said Tuesday that he is “outraged and deeply saddened” by the rocket strike against a hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds of Palestinians amid ongoing violence in Israel stemming from Hamas terrorists’ surprise attack on the Jewish State.
The president said he spoke about the blast with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and directed U.S. national security officials to further investigate the incident.
“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,” Biden said in a statement. “Immediately upon hearing this news, I spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and have directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened.”
Health authorities in Gaza accused the Israeli forces of launching an airstrike against the hospital. But Israel’s officials say the rocket was a misfire launch by the Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
“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,” an IDF spokesperson said in a statement. “According to intelligence information, from several sources we have, the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is responsible for the failed shooting that hit the hospital.”
Authorities in Gaza are estimating more than 500 people were killed in the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital.
“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy,” Biden said.
More than 4,200 people have been killed in Gaza and Israel since Hamas launched its largest attack against Israel in decades on October 7, leading to retaliatory action from Israeli forces. Thousands more have been wounded, and many others have been taken hostage by Hamas and raped, tortured and murdered.
Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday in support of the country in the wake of Hamas’ act of terrorism. He was originally expected to then leave for Jordan to meet with leaders of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, although the trip to Jordan was canceled after the hospital explosion.
A senior Palestinian official said after the blast that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas canceled the meeting with Biden in protest of the incident.
“After consulting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and in light of the days of mourning announced by President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, President Biden will postpone his travel to Jordan and the planned meeting with these two leaders and President Sisi of Egypt,” the White House said in a statement.