πŸ”΄ Live: Fury erupts after Gaza hospital strike, Arab leaders cancel Biden summit

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A strike on a Gaza hospital compound which health officials there said killed hundreds of people has provoked outrage and condemnation from around the world, with protests on the streets of Amman, Tunis, Beirut and Tehran.The news came after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II canceled a planned meeting with US President Joe Biden in Amman. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

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5:50am: Guterres says Hamas attacks do not justify ‘collective punishment’ of Palestinians

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas did not justify the “collective punishment” of the Palestinian people.

The Hamas attacks on October 7 “cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”, Guterres told delegates at a forum of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative in Beijing.

He also called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”.

“I call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to … ease the epic human suffering we are witnessing,” Guterres said at the same event.

5:45am: US issues ‘do not travel’ advisory for Lebanon

The US State Department on Tuesday raised its travel alert for Lebanon to “do not travel,” citing the security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah.

The State Department authorised the voluntary, temporary departure of family members of US government personnel and some non-emergency personnel from the US Embassy in Beirut because of the unpredictable security situation in Lebanon.

4:37am: Air strike shatters ‘sanctuary’ image that Gaza’s hospitals had

For tens of thousands of families in Gaza, hospitals became a refuge from seemingly endless Israeli shelling. Then came the strike Tuesday night on Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza, which the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory said killed at least 500 people.

Residents who have been told to flee the north of the Palestinian territory had packed the courtyards and corridors of the territory’s overwhelmed hospitals in the belief they were a safe haven from the Israeli bombardments. Read more here.

3:41am: Hundreds protest in Libya over hospital air strike

Several hundred people protested in Tripoli and other Libyan cities late Tuesday over the deadly strike on a Gaza hospital, according to AFP journalists.

In Tripoli, hundreds of demonstrators of all ages, brandishing Palestinian flags and some covering their faces with Palestinian keffiyehs, crisscrossed the streets of the city centre before converging on Martyrs’ Square.

They chanted slogans of support for the residents of Gaza and denounced the strike by the “Zionist enemy”. “We give our blood and our souls for Gaza,” they chanted in Tripoli and similarly in Misrata, a city 200 kilometres west of the capital.

3:03am: Biden heads to Middle East despite cancelled summit with Arab leaders

Joe Biden will be traveling to Israel as he is expected to express support for the country as well as negotiate humanitarian aid for Gaza. FRANCE 24’s Fraser Jackson has the latest from Washington.

1:38am: Islamic Jihad denies Israeli accusations, calling them ‘lies’

Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad on Wednesday described as “lies” the Israel army’s accusations that it was responsible for a strike on a Gaza hospital that left hundreds dead.

“The Zionist enemy is trying hard to evade its responsibility for the brutal massacre he committed by bombing the Baptist Arab National Hospital in Gaza through his usual fabrication of lies, and through pointing the finger of blame at the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine,” it said in a statement.

“We therefore affirm that the accusations put forward by the enemy are false and baseless,” it added.

1:18am: Biden ‘outraged’, calls on national security team to determine what happened

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday he was “outraged and deeply saddened” by a deadly explosion on a Gaza hospital, for which Hamas and Israel have traded blame.

Biden had “directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened”, he added in a statement

1:13am: UN chief ‘horrified’ by Gaza air strike

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “horrified” by the deadly strike on a hospital in Gaza that left at least 200 people dead, he said in a social media post Tuesday.

“My heart is with the families of the victims. Hospitals and medical personnel are protected under international humanitarian law,” Guterres said in the message on X, formerly Twitter.

12:55am: Angry protests in front of French, British embassies in Tehran

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the British and French embassies in Tehran in the early hours of Wednesday, an AFP correspondent said, as regional anger grows over a deadly strike on a Gaza hospital.

“Death to France and England,” protesters shouted, throwing eggs at the walls of the French embassy compound in the Iranian capital.

12:07am: Biden summit with Arab leaders canceled after Gaza air strike

US President Joe Biden has postponed his visit to Jordan after a deadly strike on a Gaza hospital and will only go to Israel on his Middle East trip, the White House said Tuesday.

Biden decided after “consulting” with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and “in light of the days of mourning” announced by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who was due at the summit along with Egypt‘s president, the White House said in a statement.

“The president sent his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded,” the statement added.

12:03am: France’s Macron says ‘nothing can justify’ targeting civilians

French President Emmanuel Macron said “nothing can justify targeting civilians” after a deadly strike on a Gaza hospital and called for humanitarian access to the coastal strip “without delay”.

“Nothing can justify a strike against a hospital. Nothing can justify targeting civilians. France condemns the attack on the Al-Ahli Arabi hospital in Gaza which caused so many Palestinian victims. We think of them,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip must be opened without delay.”

Key developments from Tuesday, October 17:

An air strike on the Ahli hospital in Gaza City has left at least 500 people dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The Israeli Defence Forces have denied it was their rockets, blaming the Islamic Jihad instead. The United Nations, the African Union, and France have all condemned the air strike.

Read our blog to see how the day’s events unfolded. 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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