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The world holds its breath: Israel-Palestine war dramatically escalates after hundreds die in Gaza hospital strike as Iran warns ‘time is up’ and Hezbollah calls for ‘day of rage’ – hours before Biden flies in to Tel Aviv

The world is today holding its breath after a devastating strike on a Gaza hospital killed 500 people, sparking furious outrage across the Middle East and putting the region on the brink of an all-out war.

A huge explosion ripped through the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City last night while it was being used to treat and shelter thousands of civilians who were trying to avoid Israel’s relentless barrage of airstrikes. 

The devastating fireball has sparked a venomous blame game between Hamas and Israel, with the terrorists claiming it was the result of an Israeli air strike while the IDF blamed the Islamic Jihad militants. 

The hospital strike has sparked global anger, with Iran – Israel’s foe – declaring last night warning that the ‘time is up’ for the country and Tehran-backed terror group Hezbollah calling for a ‘day of rage’. 

It comes just hours before US President Joe Biden is set to touch down in Israel for a diplomatic scramble to prevent the war with Hamas from spiralling into an even larger conflict. 

Palestinians at Al Shifa hospital mourn over the body of a family member after an air strike in Gaza City on Tuesday 

Wounded Palestinians wait for treatment in al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, after arriving from al-Ahli hospital following an explosion there on Tuesday

Wounded Palestinians wait for treatment in al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, central Gaza Strip, after arriving from al-Ahli hospital following an explosion there on Tuesday 

Pictured: The burning hospital building after the strike on Tuesday night

Pictured: The burning hospital building after the strike on Tuesday night 

Wounded Palestinian children lay at the al-Shifa hospital, following Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City on Tuesday

Wounded Palestinian children lay at the al-Shifa hospital, following Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City on Tuesday 

The scene of destruction at Al Ahli hospital after an air strike in Gaza City on Tuesday

The scene of destruction at Al Ahli hospital after an air strike in Gaza City on Tuesday 

But the blast had thrown Biden’s visit to the region into chaos, with a planned meeting involving him, the president of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas, and leaders from Egypt and Jordan cancelled by the Arab nations in protest.

This damning move by the Middle Eastern states has cost Biden an opportunity for the face-to-face conversations he views as crucial for navigating this fraught moment.

Hellish video taken from the hospital, which was sheltering around 6,000 Palestinians and is funded by the Anglican Church, shows fire engulfing the building and the dozens of bodies strewn over the ground, many of them young children.

In a press conference at al-Shifa doctors stood in a sea of dead children who had been brought from the stricken hospital, holding some of their faces to the cameras to show the horror that had befallen them.

In the immediate aftermath Hamas called the devastation a ‘horrific massacre’ and a ‘crime of genocide’, laying blame at the feet of Israel. But Israel quickly refuted that claim, instead blaming Hamas for striking the hospital with a misfired rocket. 

The horrific strike has raised already heightened fears that the Hamas-Israel conflict will engulf the Middle East, with Iran’s foreign minister declaring that the ‘time is over’ for Israel. 

Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist group based in Lebanon, called for ‘a day of unprecedented anger’ against Israel, while Libya’s foreign ministry accused the Jewish state of ‘war crimes and genocide’.

Anger boiled over across the Middle East following the hospital strike, with demonstrators in Beirut, Lebanon, setting the U.S. embassy on fire before security forces fired tear gas at them in fierce clashes. 

Angry protesters also descended on the streets of Turkey and Jordan close to Israel’s embassies there, while Palestinian security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse anti-government protesters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. 

Protesters demonstrate in front of the Israeli Consulate after an explosion at a hospital in Gaza killed hundreds on Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey

Protesters demonstrate in front of the Israeli Consulate after an explosion at a hospital in Gaza killed hundreds on Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey

A flare launched by protesters lands amid Lebanese security forces at the entrance of the French embassy complex in Beirut early on Wednesday

A flare launched by protesters lands amid Lebanese security forces at the entrance of the French embassy complex in Beirut early on Wednesday

Lebanese people gather in front of the United States Embassy to stage a protest against an airstrike on Gaza's Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, in Beirut, Lebanon on Wednesday

Lebanese people gather in front of the United States Embassy to stage a protest against an airstrike on Gaza’s Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, in Beirut, Lebanon on Wednesday

Lebanese people gather in front of the United States Embassy to stage a protest against an airstrike on Gaza's Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, in Beirut, Lebanon on Wednesday

Lebanese people gather in front of the United States Embassy to stage a protest against an airstrike on Gaza’s Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, in Beirut, Lebanon on Wednesday

Protesters clash with police officers during a rally in support of the Palestinians, outside the Embassy of Israel, in Ankara on Wednesday

Protesters clash with police officers during a rally in support of the Palestinians, outside the Embassy of Israel, in Ankara on Wednesday 

Protestors rally outside the Israeli Consulate against a strike on a hospital in Gaza, in Istanbul, on Tuesday

Protestors rally outside the Israeli Consulate against a strike on a hospital in Gaza, in Istanbul, on Tuesday 

Protesters demonstrate in front of the US embassy after an explosion at a hospital in Gaza killed hundreds on Tuesday in Beirut, Lebanon, on Wednesday

Protesters demonstrate in front of the US embassy after an explosion at a hospital in Gaza killed hundreds on Tuesday in Beirut, Lebanon, on Wednesday

Israel has been preparing for a potential ground invasion of Gaza in response to Hamas’ attacks on October 7, which killed 1,400 Israelis.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters aboard Air Force One that Mr Biden ‘wants to get a sense from the Israelis on the situation on the ground’ and will ‘ask some tough questions’.

‘He’ll be asking them as a friend,’ Mr Kirby said.

Biden also planned to meet Israeli first responders and the families of those killed and hostages taken when Hamas made its incursion into Israel.

Roughly 2,800 Palestinians have been reported killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza. Another 1,200 people are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead, health authorities said.

Those numbers predate the explosion at the Al-Ahli hospital on Tuesday. No clear cause has been established for the blast.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said an Israeli airstrike caused the destruction but the Israeli military denied involvement and blamed a misfired rocket from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another militant group which also denied responsibility.

Mr Biden said in a statement that he was ‘outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted.’

He also said he ‘directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened’.

Protests swept through the region after the deaths at the hospital, which had been treating wounded Palestinians and sheltering many more seeking a refuge from the fighting.

Doctors stand outside al-Shifa hospital surrounded by a sea of dead children brought in from nearby al-Ahli hospital after the explosion

Doctors stand outside al-Shifa hospital surrounded by a sea of dead children brought in from nearby al-Ahli hospital after the explosion

A doctor at the scene of Al Ahli hospital after an air strike in Gaza City on Tuesday

A doctor at the scene of Al Ahli hospital after an air strike in Gaza City on Tuesday 

Hundreds of Palestinians flooded the streets of major West Bank cities including Ramallah. More people joined protests that erupted in Beirut, Lebanon and Amman, Jordan, where an angry crowd gathered outside the Israeli Embassy.

In Jordan, King Abdullah II had planned to host meetings with Mr Biden alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

But Mr Abbas withdrew in protest and the summit was cancelled outright.

Mr Kirby said Jordan had declared three days of mourning after the hospital explosion and Mr Biden understood the move and was part of a ‘mutual’ decision to call off the Jordan portion of his trip.

He said Mr Biden would have an opportunity to speak to the Arab leaders by phone as he returned to Washington.

Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, told a state-run television network the war is ‘pushing the region to the brink.’

There are also fears that a new front could erupt along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where Iran-backed Hezbollah has been skirmishing with Israeli forces.

Mr Biden’s trip will test the limits of US influence in the Middle East at a volatile time. It is his second trip to a conflict zone this year, after visiting Ukraine in February.

The visit to Israel coincides with rising humanitarian concerns in Gaza, where Israel has cut off the flow of food, fuel and water.

Mediators have been struggling to break a deadlock over providing supplies to desperate civilians, aid groups and hospitals.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12643483/The-world-holds-breath-Israel-Palestine-war-dramatically-escalates-hundreds-die-Gaza-hospital-strike-Iran-warns-time-Hezbollah-calls-day-rage-hours-Biden-flies-Tel-Aviv.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 The world holds its breath: Israel-Palestine war dramatically escalates after hundreds die in Gaza hospital strike as Iran warns ‘time is up’ and Hezbollah calls for ‘day of rage’ – hours before Biden flies in to Tel Aviv

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