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TEL AVIV: US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that Washington would provide Israel with everything it needed to defend itself as it wages war against the Palestinian Hamas group, which he appeared to blame for a devastating blast at a Gaza hospital.

Biden, who landed in Israel and met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early on Wednesday, said Hamas group was worse than Islamic State for its killings of Israeli civilians in the surprise attack on Oct. 7 which triggered the latest Israel-Palestinian violence.

Situation in Gaza ‘spiralling out of control’: WHO chief

He said he was “sad and outraged” by an explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday which Hamas group said killed hundreds of people. “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.

But there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we’ve got a lot — we’ve got to overcome a lot of things,“ Biden said. Israel says the blast was caused by a Palestinian rocket that fell short. Hamas group denies that.

The bloodshed there has stoked already fierce anti-Israel protests in the region.

Biden said 31 Americans were among the more than 1,300 Israelis killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack.

UN chief ‘horrified’ by Gaza hospital strike

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday he was “horrified” by hundreds of people killed in Tuesday’s strike on a Gaza hospital.

Before flying to the Chinese capital to attend the Belt and Road Forum, Guterres said he appealed to Hamas group for an immediate and unconditional release of hostages, and to Israel to allow immediate unrestricted access to humanitarian aid for Gaza.

He also emphasised the need for promotion of effective debt relief mechanisms to ensure that countries involved in the Belt and Road programme were not locked into unsustainable debt.

Turkiye in talks with Hamas on hostages

Turkiye is in talks with the Palestinian group Hamas to secure the release of hostages it seized in Israel and took to Gaza, but there “is nothing concrete” for now, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan was cited as saying on Wednesday.

Fidan said on Tuesday Ankara was discussing the release of foreigners, civilians, and children held by Hamas, and added “many countries” had asked for Turkiye’s help in facilitating the release of their citizens.

“Talks, work on the prisoner swap continue. There are talks and meetings held through intelligence units, but, in the heat of the first days, it was not possible to create a framework for this,” Fidan told representatives from Turkish media this week, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

In 2011, Israel swapped hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to win the release of one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was held for five years. The exchange was criticised at the time by some Israelis as too lopsided.

Officials say Hamas has around 200 hostages in Gaza.

Fidan added that other countries, namely Qatar, were also engaged in talks with Hamas leaders, who are currently in Qatar.

“We also speak to our friends, counterparts there from time to time. There is nothing concrete at the moment,” he was quoted as saying. “The Americans, Germans (conveyed requests) regarding their own citizens. There were those who asked for our help from the first day in releasing their citizens.”

Turkiye has backed Palestinians in the past, while supporting a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict with Israel. It has offered to mediate in the conflict and sent humanitarian aid to Gaza, which is stuck in Egypt as borders remained closed.

Ankara has also been working to mend long-strained ties with Israel. Unlike the United States and European Union, Turkiye does not view Hamas as a terrorist group and hosts its members.

Ankara, which initially condemned civilian deaths and called for restraint, has toughened its rhetoric against Israel, saying Israel’s response to Hamas in Gaza amounted to a “massacre’, and a violation of human rights and international law.

It sharply escalated its criticism after a blast on Tuesday that killed hundreds of Palestinians at a Gaza hospital, which Palestinians blamed on an Israeli air strike. Israel said the blast was caused by Hamas.

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Tulukan Mairandi Oct 18, 2023 04:48pm
Hamas ababel rocket donated by one islamic republic malfunction (as usual) and destroyed the hospital.
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Builder Oct 18, 2023 06:12pm
@Tulukan Mairandi First question: are you hindu or jew as you speak on their behalf most of the time. Second, it was Israeli air to ground missile for sure as their have been no flying objects from Hamas after first attack!
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TidBit Oct 19, 2023 12:28am
If the OIC muslim Umma and fellow countries dont stand up now, they might as well shut their mouth for ever
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