Gaza Strip’s biggest hospital ‘hit by Israeli missile’

Robert Tait, Hannah Strange — Telegraph.co.uk July 28, 2014

A hospital employee inspects damages at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. Click to enlarge

A hospital employee inspects damages at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Click to enlarge

An Israeli missile has hit the compound housing the biggest hospital in Gaza, it has been reported.

Palestinian officials said the strike on Shifa Hospital had caused casualties though there was no immediate word of how many.

The attack hit a building close to the main gate of the hospital in Gaza City, medics said.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said a wall of a building inside the compound was damaged by a missile apparently fired by a drone.

An Israeli military spokesman suggested the explosion might have been caused by a rocket misfired by militants. He told The Telegraph: “We are looking into it but there’s a chance that there was a mislaunched rocket by Hamas. I cannot confirm 100 per cent but I know that we are looking into it in order to understand if Hamas launched a rocket that fired on itself.”

The Al Shati refugee camp was also reportedly hit in a separate strike which medics said killed at least 10 people including seven children.

International pressure has been building for an end to the conflict in Gaza on Monday after the UN Security Council called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, backing a similar plea from President Barack Obama.

As the UN resolution came, there were hopes that the three-week war between Israel and the Islamist movement, Hamas, might be winding down following a relatively quiet night in the coastal strip.

But that lull was broken on Monday morning by a tit-for-tat exchange as Israel mounted three air strikes in response to a rocket fired from Gaza.

Emergency services in the Strip also said a four-year-old Palestinian boy was killed when a house was hit by a shell from an Israeli tank near Jabaliya, where clashes had recently erupted between Israeli troops and Hamas militants.

The 15-member UN Security Council issued a statement following an emergency meeting early on Monday calling for an immediate humanitarian truce in time for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.

It voiced “strong support” for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire”, allowing for urgent deliveries of aid, and urged all sides to “accept and fully implement” the truce.

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