President Biden said Wednesday he was “deeply saddened” by the deadly hospital explosion in Gaza, but insisted that Israel was not to blame for the rocket attack, which left 500 dead.
During a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, the president suggested U.S. intelligence linked the attack to an Islamic jihad rocket.
“I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday. And based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” he told Mr. Netanyahu. “But there’s a lot of people out there, not sure, so we’re going to overcome a lot of things.”
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said Tuesday that an Israeli airstrike caused the explosion and killed about 500 hundred people at the hospital, which also served as a shelter from the ongoing Israeli bombardment. The Israeli military said it had no involvement in the explosion and the blast was likely caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.
Mr. Biden’s remarks back Israel’s claim that it wasn’t responsible for the attack, but also underscores how quickly the situation is evolving. In a statement on the attack Tuesday, Mr. Biden said his national security team would “continue gathering information about exactly what happened.”
The president arrived in Israel, which is still reeling from the Oct. 7 terror attack by Hamas, a Muslim terrorist group that controls Gaza. The attack left 1,200 Israelis dead, including 30 Americans. Hundreds are believed to be held hostage by Hamas, including a small number of Americans.
The trip was Mr. Biden’s strongest show of solidarity so far with Israel, which has declared war on Hamas.