Deadly Gaza hospital blast came from missile launched towards Israel, says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

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The Government has judged that a deadly blast at a Gaza hospital last week was “likely caused by a missile, or part of one, that was launched from within Gaza towards Israel”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told MPs.

Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed in the atrocity last week at al Ahli, which provoked condemnation around the world as well as rival claims about who was to blame.

Israel and Hamas both issued competing versions of events regarding the cause of the blast, with the Palestinian militant group blaming an Israeli airstrike.

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The Israeli military blamed a misfiring rocket from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group and released imagery and communications intercepts it said supported its case.

This image provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of al-Ahli Hospital after explosion in Gaza CityThis image provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of al-Ahli Hospital after explosion in Gaza City
This image provided by Maxar Technologies shows an overview of al-Ahli Hospital after explosion in Gaza City

The UK will also provide an additional £20 million of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, Mr Sunak said.

His statement to MPs comes after he committed the Government to publishing an assessment of who was behind the blast.

It comes after he visited Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt last week.

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Mr Sunak hit out at the “misreporting” of the incident, which he said had a “negative effect in the region, including on a vital US diplomatic effort and on tensions here at home”.

In comments cheered by parliamentarians, he said: “We need to learn the lessons and ensure that in future there is no rush to judgment.”

The Prime Minister, who reiterated the UK’s backing for the Israeli government, said that the new aid funding was “more than doubling our previous support to the Palestinian people”.

The UK assessment comes after US President Joe Biden, during his visit in Tel Aviv, sided with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s assessment of the tragedy.

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It comes as the first aid convoys reached Gaza through the border with Egypt over the weekend – 20 trucks on Saturday and 14 on Sunday.

But the United Nations said much more was needed and the Rafah border crossing is still not open for foreign nationals seeking to flee bombarded and besieged Gaza.

Global diplomatic efforts continue to prevent the Israel-Hamas war triggering wider bloodshed across the Middle East.

The Prime Minister and Mr Biden, along with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Canada, called for Israel to respect international humanitarian law, demanded the release of the hostages held by Hamas and pushed for aid for Gaza in a joint call on Sunday night.