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Al Alhi hospital banner .JPG
Al Alhi hospital .JPG
World News

'We're hurting God's heart': Christian hospital attack leaves estimated 500 dead in Gaza

by Ros Mayfield

The vice-chair of the Christian mission hospital destroyed in Gaza on Tuesday has told Premier of his devastation over the incident.

Friends and colleagues at the Christian Al Alhi hospital are struggling to comprehend an attack on their beloved healthcare facility, which has left hundreds dead on Tuesday night.  Thousands of people had taken refuge on the campus, believing it to be a haven of safety in the midst of the devastating conflict.

Father Fadi Diab is vice-chair of the hospital board and Rector of St Andrew's church in Ramallah.  He told Premier the community was in shock: "We never imagined that this could happen in Gaza, or anywhere in the world. The last thing we could imagine is that a hospital that is the ministry of healing and compassion would be hit. This is this is really devastating, not only to the people at the hospital to the victims, but to all of us, we're all devastated by this action. It is very difficult."

Mohammad Al-Naqa, a doctor at the Al Alhi hospital said: "There was no warning before the hospital was targeted. There were about 3,000 people, who were taking shelter here, while we were working and without any warning, around 6:30 p.m., the hospital was targeted by shelling.  We don't know what it was, but we found out what it can do."

It's still unclear who was responsible. Israel's military blamed Islamic Jihad, who are aligned with Hamas.  Both groups have denied involvement and point the finger at Israel.  UK and US governments have promised to investigate. 

But Fr Fadi told Premier he wants international leaders to stop talking about who was behind each attack: "We need to be talking about how to stop this. We need to be talking about how to save innocent lives. We need to remind ourselves that all people are created in the image and likeness of God. And that when people are killed, we're hurting God's heart. This is not the time to blame."

Pope Francis deplored the "desperate" situation in Gaza as he urged the faithful to take the side of peace. "Dear brothers and sisters, my thoughts go out to Palestine and Israel. The number of victims is rising and the situation in Gaza is desperate. Please do everything possible to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe."

(Additional reporting from Reuters)

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