The Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry, which estimated a death toll of over 500, blamed the attack at al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City on Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the blast was a failed rocket launch from Islamic Jihad, a Hamas-aligned militant group. United States president Joe Biden, visiting Israel on Wednesday, referenced data from the Department of Defense backing Israel’s account.
Al-Ahli was founded by Anglican missionaries and has existed in the region since 1882. For some decades in the mid-20th century, it was operated by Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) missions. It currently sits under the Anglican Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
Known colloquially as Al-Ma’amadani (or “the Baptist” in Arabic), it is one of 22 hospitals in northern Gaza. After Israel’s evacuation orders in the area, hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge there, with families sheltering in the courtyard where the explosion took place, according to news reports.
“We are here as an instrument in the hands of God to show the love of Jesus Christ for all people. We are proud that in all conflicts, this hospital was there to eliminate the suffering of the injured, the poor, and to help those in need of a compassionate heart,” said al-Ahli hospital director Suhaila Tarazi, in an earlier appeal to Christian supporters.