Gaza, The Indonesia Post – Days before the attack on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds of people, the Anglican Church in Jerusalem received three evacuation orders from Israel, the church leader said.
At least 471 Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes on the hospital on Tuesday night, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
Israel denied responsibility for the attack, despite forensic and circumstantial evidence to the contrary.
“We received three orders to leave the hospital on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The hospital was bombed on Tuesday,” said Archbishop Hosam Naoum at a press conference, Wednesday (18/10).
“Almost all of these orders were conveyed by telephone,” he said.
Naoum called the hospital explosion a “crime” and a “massacre”.
“We as church leaders always warn of the violence resulting from the current conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine,” he said.
When asked who was responsible for the tragedy, Naoum said: “What we know is what we saw on television and we are not military experts who determine those parties.”
“At least we know that many buildings, houses and many places were bombarded in the Israeli invasion,” he said, referring to Gaza, where the hospital is located.
“These are the facts on the ground,” said Naoum.
Israel denied responsibility for the explosion at the hospital, but the military’s order of evacuation just before Tuesday reinforced allegations that Israel was the perpetrator.
The hospital is known as a Baptist hospital for historical reasons and has been under the auspices of the Anglican Church or Church of England since the early 1980s.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict erupted on October 7 when the Palestinian group, Hamas, launched “Operation Al Aqsa Storm”, a surprise attack from all directions including firing rockets and infiltrating its members into Israeli territory via land, sea and air.
Hamas revealed that the operation was in response to Israel’s raid on the Al Aqsa Mosque in the occupied East Jerusalem and increased violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.
The Israeli military then launched “Operation Iron Sword” to attack Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza is currently experiencing a serious humanitarian crisis because there is no electricity, water, food, fuel and almost running out of medicine.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire to ease “tremendous human suffering”.
At least 3,478 Palestinians were killed as a result of Israeli attacks on Gaza. Meanwhile, more than 1,400 Israelis have been killed since the start of the conflict. (mhn/bbs)