US President Joe Biden (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) during a joint press confrence in Tel Aviv, Israel, 18 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MIRIAM ALSTER / POOL

Biden reaffirms US support for Israel day after Gaza hospital bombed

Jerusalem, Oct 18 (EFE).- US President Joe Biden met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to reaffirm his country’s support for Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist group that governs the war-torn Gaza Strip.

Biden arrived in Israel a day after hundreds of people are feared to have died when a hospital in Gaza was struck Tuesday night, with both Israel and Hamas blaming each other for the bombing.

Tensions in Israel and Palestine have risen sharply since Hamas launched an unprecedented land, sea, and air attack on Oct. 7 that killed at least 1,400 people.

A handout photo made available by Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) welcoming US President Joe Biden to Israel, at Ben-Gurion International Airport 18 October 2023. EFE/EPA/GPO/Avi Ohion HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Israel has responded with an intense bombing campaign of the Gaza Strip, killing at least 3,300 people, according to Palestinian health officials, as well as displacing tens of thousands while also imposing a total siege of the enclave, where water, food, and medical supplies are fast running out.

In remarks to reporters before his meeting with Netanyahu on Wednesday, Biden said he wanted to make sure that Israel “has what it needs to defend itself.”

Netanyahu, meanwhile, thanked Biden for the “unequivocal support” and cooperation Israel has received from the US, which he said was “truly unprecedented in the history of the great alliance between our two nations.”

“The world sees that support and the moral clarity that you have demonstrated from the moment Israel was attacked,” the Israeli prime minister said, praising Biden for drawing “a clear line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism” that Hamas represents.

Mourners at Al Shifa hospital after an air strike in Gaza City, 17 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

Biden’s visit has been overshadowed by the deadly bombing of a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday night.

Hamas has accused Israel of hitting the hospital in an airstrike, claims rejected by Israeli military authorities on Wednesday.

The Israeli military said a misfired rocket launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants from within the Gaza Strip hit the medical center.

In remarks to reporters at the start of their meeting, Biden said he was “deeply outraged and saddened” by the explosion at the hospital.

The scene at Al Ahli hospital in Gaza 18 October 2023 following Tuesday’s blast after the building was hit by an air strike. According to Palestinian authorities in Gaza hundreds of people have been killed in an airstrike to the hospital in Gaza on 17 October. Israel has denied responsibility and said a Hamas rocket misfire caused the blast. EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

“Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team,” he said, referring to Hamas.

The US president then added that “a lot of people out there are not sure” about who was responsible for the bombing, highlighting the plight of “Palestinians who are innocent and caught in the middle of this.”

In a tweet, Biden said he had instructed his team to “continue gathering information about what exactly happened.”

After his meetings in Israel, Biden was to travel to Jordan for a summit with Jordanian King Abdullah of Jordan, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But the Arab leaders canceled the meeting in the wake of the hospital explosion. EFE