Breaking: Arriving in Israel, Biden Says Deadly Hospital Blast ‘Appears’ to Have Been Caused by Palestinians

Shortly after arriving at the Ben Gurion Airport in Israel Wednesday morning to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Biden said that, based upon his review of the existing intelligence, the deadly hospital blast that occurred in Gaza on Tuesday “appears” to have been caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket, rather than an Israeli airstrike. 

"I wanted to be here today for a simple reason. I wanted the people of Israel, the people of the world, to know where the United States stands," Biden said Wednesday. "I've had my great secretary of state here, he's been here for a lot. But I wanted to personally come, and make that clear."

Biden hugged Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog before getting into the motorcade.

Hours before Biden arrived in Israel, an explosion hit the parking lot near the Anglican Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 500 people were killed. 

During an appearance with Netanyahu shortly after touching down in Israel, Biden said that the deadly explosion near the Gaza hospital appears not to have been caused by Israel.

"Based on what I've seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you," Biden told Netanyahu during a meeting. "But there's a lot of people out there not sure."

Hamas claimed that an Israeli airstrike targeted the hospital. The Palestinian Authority’s health minister, Mai Alkaila, accused Israel of “a massacre." 

The Israel Defense Forces subsequently claimed that the explosion was caused by a misfired rocket launched by the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. 

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said, "Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our possession indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch that hit the hospital in Gaza." 

Hagari said the IDF would release radar information and footage, and the information would be given to President Biden in a “full briefing" during his visit, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"I am outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in northern Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted," Biden said in a statement immediately after news of the blast. "Immediately upon hearing this news, I spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and have directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened."

"The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy," Biden continued.

According to the White House, Biden had initially planned to travel to Jordan, where he would meet with King Abdullah of Jordan, Egyptian President Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

After the explosion near the hospital, Abbas cancelled the summit. 

A White House spokesman, John F. Kirby, said that Biden's decision not to go to Jordan was "made in a mutual way" with King Abdullah. Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority wanted to return home after the hospital explosion, which Kirby said was "understandable."

More than 1,300 Israelis have been killed since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. In the Gaza Strip and West Bank, roughly 3,000 people had been killed before the hospital blast. The Israeli military believes 199 people have been taken hostage by Hamas. At least 30 Americans have died, and at least 13 Americans remain unaccounted for. 

Commenting on the loss of innocent life, Biden compared the atrocities committed by Hamas to the work of ISIS.

"The terrorist group Hamas has slaughtered over 1,300 people. And it's not hyperbole, they just slaughtered including 31 Americans," Biden claimed. "And they have taken scores of people hostage, including children.”

"You said imagine what those children hiding from Hamas are thinking. It's beyond my comprehension to be able to imagine what they are thinking. They committed evils and atrocities that make ISIS look somewhat more rational."

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken arrived in the Middle East on October 11. He intends to visit Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, according to the State Department. 

Biden and Netanyahu last met together in New York last month. 

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Arriving in Israel, Biden Says Deadly Hospital Blast ‘Appears’ to Have Been Caused by Palestinians

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