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Many Casualties due to Massive Blast at Anglican Al Ahli Arab hospital, Gaza

View of the burning hospital from a balcony from across the road, with ambulances and people runningOn the evening of Tuesday 17 October at approximately 7.00pm local time, hundreds of people, including many children, were killed or wounded by a blast centred on the courtyard of the Anglican Al Ahli Al hospital, Gaza. The area was crowded with people who believed that the hospital was a comparatively safe place to shelter from the intensive Israeli rocket attacks on Gaza City.  Although details of the precise cause of the explosion have still to be established, this is a human tragedy on a major scale.  The responsibility for it rests with all those who are undertaking military activity in or against Gaza without due regard for international law regarding the protection of civilians.

Although referred to in some newspaper reports as ‘the Baptist Hospital’, due to its management by Baptist missions between 1954-1982, since 1982 the hospital, founded in 1882 by the Church Missionary Society, has been run and financed by the Episcopal (Anglican) Diocese of Jerusalem. 

The Archbishop and the Diocese have issued the following statement and will be holding a press conference later today. The video of the press conference is available on The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Facebook Page here

Photo of the statement issued by the Diocese of Jerusalem in which they condemns the atrocious attack and announces a day of mourning for all those who have lost their lives

Canon Don Binder, the chaplain to the Archbishop in Jerusalem commented,

Our hearts go out to all those who lost their lives or were injured in the bombing of our Anglican Ahli Hospital this evening, the second time the hospital has been fired upon in three days—though this strike was far worse than the first.

We pray for healing for the wounded and comfort for the grieving.

And we hope that this tragedy will underscore to world leaders the absolute necessity for both safe places of refuge in the war zone and for humanitarian aid to finally be allowed into Gaza after eleven days of it being denied to hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees, half of them children.

May God have mercy on us all during this latest in a series of calamities that have engulfed our beloved Holy Land over this past week-and-a-half.