Gaza hospital strike likely caused by missile aimed at Israel, Sunak says

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GAZA CITY, GAZA - OCTOBER 18: A view of the surroundings of Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital after it was hit in Gaza City, Gaza on October 18, 2023. Over 500 people were killed on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told. According to the Palestinian authorities, Israeli army is responsible for the deadly bombing. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images)
The compound next to the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital after it was hit in Gaza City, Gaza on 18 October. (Getty) (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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The UK government has judged that a deadly blast at a Gaza hospital last week was “likely caused by a missile, or part of one, that was launched from within Gaza towards Israel”, Rishi Sunak has told MPs.

The atrocity at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital last Tuesday provoked condemnation around the world as well as rival claims about who was to blame.

Israel and Hamas both issued competing versions of events regarding the cause of the blast, with the Palestinian militant group blaming an Israeli airstrike. The Hamas-run health ministry has claimed nearly 500 people died but declined to release further details about the victims.

The Israeli military blamed a misfiring rocket from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group and released imagery and communications intercepts it said supported its case.

Speaking to MPs, Sunak hit out at the “misreporting” of the incident, which he said had a “negative effect in the region, including on a vital US diplomatic effort and on tensions here at home”.

He added: “We need to learn the lessons and ensure that in future there is no rush to judgement.”

France, Canada and the US have all indicated Israel was not to blame for the blast.

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