Spontaneous protests broke out in several predominantly Muslim countries after a rocket hit a hospital in the Gaza Strip with numerous victims. In Amman, demonstrators tried to get to the Israeli embassy, the Jordanian news agency Petra reported. Jordanian security circles reportedly rejected reports that the building had been stormed. The demonstrators were removed from the area. Videos on social media showed them shouting "to the embassy."
Numerous demonstrators also gathered in front of the Israeli consulate in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul. Some waved Palestinian flags and chanted: "Down with Israel!", a broadcast from the state news agency Anadolu showed. The police were there with a large contingent to protect the consulate in the Levent district.
A day of mourning has been declared in many places
In Tunisia's capital Tunis, hundreds protested after the incident in front of the French embassy, the state agency TAP reported. According to eyewitnesses, hundreds also gathered in the center of the city in Baghdad, Iraq.
In the southern suburbs of Beirut, eyewitnesses said hundreds of Hezbollah supporters poured into the streets and called for Tel Aviv to be bombed. In Beirut, police used tear gas against demonstrators near the US Embassy, according to witnesses.
In Iran, a crowd in Tehran's city center chanted "Down with Israel," videos from the state news agency IRNA showed. The government declared today, Wednesday, a day of mourning. Iran's foreign ministry spokesman strongly condemned the attack and blamed its arch-enemy Israel. Well after midnight, crowds of people marched in front of the British embassy waving Palestinian flags. There were also protests in front of the French representation.
Several states announced days of mourning for the victims.
Israel's military: "Didn't hit the hospital"
Israel's military clearly denied responsibility for the rocket strike. “The hospital was hit by a failed rocket from the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad,” the army said overnight.
The military had previously said that everything “pointed to” that the militant Palestinian organization was responsible. An additional review of the operational and intelligence systems has now shown that "the Israeli military did not hit the hospital in Gaza." Military spokesman Daniel Hagari announced that he would make evidence of the assumption public.
The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of the Islamist Hamas, said that "several hundred" people were killed and injured in an Israeli airstrike on the clinic. The ministry did not give an exact number.
Emirates condemn 'Israeli attack'
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) condemned the rocket strike - and blamed Israel for it. The Gulf state's foreign ministry called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and that civilians and civilian facilities not be attacked.
Morocco also “strongly condemned” the “bombing” of the hospital “by Israeli forces.” The country called for ensuring “that civilians are protected by all parties and are not targeted.” Bahrain also joined in the criticism of the “Israeli bombing.” The country supports “all regional or international efforts to de-escalate and end the violence.”
UN Secretary General horrified
UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his dismay at the devastating rocket strike in a hospital in the Gaza Strip. “I am appalled by the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians today in an attack on a hospital in Gaza, which I condemn in the strongest possible terms,” Guterres wrote on x, formerly Twitter. "My heart goes out to the families of the victims. Hospitals and medical staff are subject to the protection of international humanitarian law."
France condemns "attack on hospital"
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the rocket strike: "Nothing can justify an attack on a hospital," he wrote on X that night. "Nothing can justify targeting civilians."
The circumstances must be fully clarified. His thoughts are with the victims. He did not make any specific accusations of guilt. In another tweet, he called for humanitarian access to the people of Gaza to be reopened immediately.
Biden “outraged and saddened”
US President Joe Biden reacted with dismay. Biden said in a written statement released by the White House that he was "outraged and deeply saddened" by the hospital explosion and the terrible loss of life it caused. Immediately after the incident became known, he spoke to Jordan's King Abdullah II and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and instructed his team to collect further information about what happened.
"The United States is unequivocally committed to protecting civilians during conflict, and we mourn the patients, medical personnel and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy," the statement continued.
During a visit to Tel Aviv today, Biden also wants to ask the Israeli government “hard questions.” US Government National Security Council Communications Director John Kirby said on the flight to Tel Aviv last night (local time) that Biden wanted to get a feel from the Israelis about the situation on the ground, more about their goals and plans in the coming days and weeks, "and he's going to ask them some hard questions." Kirby emphasized that Biden would ask the questions “as a true friend of Israel.”
Biden left for Israel yesterday evening, where he is expected to make a short visit today. The US President had originally wanted to travel on to Jordan to meet there today with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egypt's head of state Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah II. However, after the rocket hit the hospital in the Gaza Strip, the meeting in Jordan was canceled at short notice.