Christian hospital attack leaves estimated 500 dead in Gaza
Father Fadi Diab, the vice-president of the Christian Al Alhi hospital board and Rector of St Andrew's church in Ramallah, shared his deep desolation over the attack.
Thousands of people had taken shelter on the hospital grounds, thinking they would be safe in the middle of the catastrophic conflict. The unexpected air strike left hundreds dead on Tuesday night.
According to Father Diab: “We never imagined that this could happen in Gaza, or anywhere in the world. The last thing we could imagine is that a hospital that is the ministry of healing and compassion would be hit. This is this is really devastating, not only to the people at the hospital to the victims, but to all of us, we’re all devastated by this action. It is very difficult. But we need to be talking about how to stop this. We need to be talking about how to save innocent lives. We need to remind ourselves that all people are created in the image and likeness of God. And that when people are killed, we’re hurting God’s heart. This is not the time to blame.”
Mohammad Al-Naqa, a doctor at the Al Alhi hospital said: “There was no warning before the hospital was targeted. There were about 3,000 people, who were taking shelter here, while we were working and without any warning, around 6:30 p.m., the hospital was targeted by shelling. We don’t know what it was, but we found out what it can do.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared three days of mourning and said that flags will be flown at half-mast “for the martyrs of the Baptist hospital massacre and all our people’s martyrs”.
Israeli militants are checking out accusations that claim Israeli forces struck the hospital. Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said: “We will get the details and update the public. I don’t know to say whether it was an Israeli air strike.”
Pope Francis called all Christians to pray for Gaza and for the conflict to be solved: “Dear brothers and sisters, my thoughts go out to Palestine and Israel. The number of victims is rising and the situation in Gaza is desperate. Please do everything possible to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.”