President Biden, who visited the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv on Wednesday, said a strike at a Gaza hospital that caused a lethal fire looked like it came from an “errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza,” which is what the Israeli Defense Forces’ have been saying about the matter.
Palestinian authorities blamed the strike on Israel and said it killed 471 people — a death toll the IDF has disputed.
The Washington Post could not immediately verify either side’s claim.
On his return to Washington, Biden said Egypt would allow up to 20 trucks with aid through the Rafah border crossing into Gaza, as the enclave faces an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis.
Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said the U.S. government assessed that Israel was “not responsible” for the Gaza hospital blast, citing “intelligence, missile activity, overhead imagery, and open-source video and images of the incident.”
She added that the United States is working to determine whether Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a smaller militant group, was involved.
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is worsening amid the Israeli siege, relief agencies said. During a speech Wednesday in which he called for restraint as the IDF responds to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, Biden announced $100 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza and the West Bank.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel on Thursday — the latest Western leader to visit the country this week in a show of support for Israeli authorities and to discuss humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip.
Sunak says the UK backs Israel’s right to “go after Hamas”, but he says the Palestinian people are Hamas’s victims too and welcomes a plan to get some aid across the border into Gaza from Egypt
Sources: Washington Post, BBC, United Nations, news agencies.