Biden says hospital blast appears to have been caused by Palestinian rocket

Joe Biden landed in Tel Aviv this morning to meet with Israeli leaders


TOPSHOT - Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) greets US President Joe Biden upon his arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on October 18, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Biden landed in Israel on October 18, on a solidarity visit following Hamas attacks that have led to major Israeli reprisals. Thousands of people, both Israeli and Palestinians have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip, entered southern Israel in a surprise attack leading Israel to declare war on Hamas in Gaza on October 8. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden has appeared to confirm IDF intelligence about the source of a deadly rocket blast in a Gaza hospital last night.

Speaking to Netanyahu on his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport this morning, he said: "Based on what I've seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,”

Last night, an explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza killed hundreds of people, with initial reports blaming an Israeli airstrike.

Shortly after the blast, the IDF released intelligence that claimed it was the result of a misfired rocket by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Gazan terror group operating in the strip.

In Israel, Biden will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. A trip to Amman, where Biden was to meet with the Jordanian king and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, has been cancelled after the latter declared three days of mourning after an explosion at a Gaza hospital overnight Tuesday that according to the Israeli military was hit by an errant Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket. Palestinian sources reported that hundreds were killed in the blast.

US defence spokesperson John Kirby said: "Israel has categorically denied that they were involved in that. So, I'll let them speak to—to their statement on that," adding, "I wouldn't characterize this as an investigation."

Biden "has directed the national security team to gather as much information and context as possible. We all want to know how this could have happened," he said.

In Israel, Biden will "get a sense from the Israelis about the situation on the ground and, more critically, their objectives, their plans, their intentions in the days and weeks ahead," Kirby told reporters.

Biden is "also going to make it clear that we continue to want to see this conflict not widen, not expand, not deepen. And he'll make that point very clearly," said Kirby.

Kirby added that Biden will tell Israel that "we want to see humanitarian assistance flow in, and it's not just a one-and-done. We want to see it be able to be sustained—food, water, obviously, electrical power, medicine—all the things that the—the people of Gaza are going to continue to need as this conflict continues to go on. So, he'll make that case very, very clearly."

Gaza is run by Hamas, which Washington has designated as a terrorist organization since 1997. The United States has acknowledged that Hamas appropriates humanitarian aid and uses it for military purposes. contributed reporting to this story.

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