Palestinians combed through the debris of the devastated Gaza hospital to collect the dead yesterday, the day after a strike killed hundreds in the facility.
Alongside rows of charred vehicles, volunteers recovered corpses and human limbs that were placed in body bags, while the remains of others were covered in white shrouds and blankets.
“This is a massacre,” Ahmed Tafesh, who assisted in the recovery effort, told AFP, saying he had collected the eyes, arms, legs and heads of the deceased. “I have never seen anything like this in my life.”
Meanwhile, President Mr. Joe Biden delivered unequivocal US backing for Israel in person, supporting his ally’s claim that Palestinian militants were behind the deadly rocket strike on the Gaza hospital that has inflamed anger across the Middle East and beyond.
Arab countries blamed Israel, which has rained bombs on Gaza since the bloody October 7 attack by Hamas fighters, with protests in Muslim countries from Egypt to Pakistan.
But Mr. Biden, on a solidarity visit to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, voiced support for Israel’s position that a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket caused the deadly carnage at Gaza’s Christian-run Ahli Arab Hospital.
“And, based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” said the US president, referring to the armed movements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which Washington and other Western governments deem “terrorist” groups.
Asked later by reporters what made him sure Israel was not responsible for the strike, Biden replied: “The data I was shown by my defence department.”
At a news conference later, Mr. Biden said: “Based on the information we have seen today it appears the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza.”
Mr. Joe Biden also said the US would provide $100 million in new funding for humanitarian aid in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, reports Reuters.
The president said he would ask Congress this week for unprecedented aid to boost Israel in its fight with Hamas, aid that is expected to be folded into a massive $100 billion package in Congress.
But he also warned Israelis that they should not give into their “rage” after the attack and follow the law of war.
Jordan on Tuesday announced the cancellation of a summit involving Biden. It was hoped that it would breathe new life into the Middle East peace process following major fighting between Israel and Hamas.
The summit will be held “when the decision to stop the war and put an end to these massacres has been made”, said Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi following the attack on Gaza hospital.
White House said Mr. Biden postponed his visit to Jordan after “consulting” with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and “in light of the days of mourning” announced by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, who was due at the summit along with Egypt’s president, the White House said in a statement.
“The president sent his deepest condolences for the innocent lives lost in the hospital explosion in Gaza, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded,” the statement added.
It was a “mutual decision” to cancel the Jordan trip after Abbas said he wanted to return home for three days of mourning, it said.