The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

The facts of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital Bombing

A critical update:

  • Al Ahli Hospital received Israeli orders to evacuate before it was struck on October 17.
  • Al Ahli Hospital had been hit previously by an Israeli missile on October 14.

Ahli hospital bombingStanding in the middle of a pile of Palestinian bodies, the Ministry of Health’s Director General gave a press conference following the mass murder of Palestinians by Israeli forces at Al Ahli hospital, October 17, 2023.

Some basic facts

Today marks the twelfth day since the beginning of Al Aqsa Flood and the subsequent Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. Since October 7, Israeli colonial forces have murdered thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. The Ministry of Health is struggling to provide accurate numbers, as at least 1,300 bodies remain trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings—among them homes, shelters, bakeries, clinics, UNRWA food depots, hospitals, and schools. The most recent estimate is 3,478. This is likely a significant undercount. More than a thousand of those murdered are children.

Last night, Israeli forces targeted and bombed Al Ahli Arab hospital, also known as the Baptist hospital in Gaza city. This was not the first time Israeli forces attacked Al Ahli hospital, as it had been targeted and hit by airstrikes only a few days before on October 14, damaging two floors and injuring four people. This hospital was not only housing patients, as well as doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers, but also sheltering hundreds last night who assumed the Christian hospital was a safer place to take cover than most. The airstrike killed at least 500 Palestinians, with some estimates doubling the number. Videos at the scene of the bombing show bodies dismembered, scattered across a courtyard and carried away in pieces. Each of these people were someone’s loved one.

It is clear that Israeli authorities and the forces carrying out these genocidal attacks on Gaza are trying to destroy as much infrastructure and resources supporting human life as possible. In the days before this massive hospital strike, Israeli forces targeted UNRWA depots which housed extra food resources, as well as shelters, homes, and bakeries. Israeli forces have ordered Palestinians to evacuate from the north to the “safer” south, yet continue to bombard Rafah, Khan Younis, and many other areas of the south, making it just as unsafe as the north. Palestinians in Gaza remain without access to electricity, fresh water, food resources, and the aid sent for them on the other side of Rafah crossing. Despite attempts by Israeli forces to threaten medical workers into evacuating 22 hospitals across Gaza, most hospitals and medical workers refuse to evacuate, stating that they will not abandon their patients to die. In the midst of murder and death, Palestinians continue to teach life.


As international condemnation about targeting a hospital—a war crime, for anyone tallying Israel’s war crimes during this murderous campaign—began, Israeli forces immediately pointed the finger away from their own US-backed forces to blame Hamas, then the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. These accusations are an attempt to confuse and create doubt, when it is obvious to anyone paying attention that there is only one military with both the intent and means to murder this many civilians in one strike. [The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem issued a statement that it received three voice or text warnings from the Israeli military before the strike. (New York Times) source edited]

Furthermore, it is a common tactic of the Israeli state and military to deploy false information when confronted about war crimes, and reminds us of the initial responses to the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh at the hands of invading Israeli forces in Jenin, during which Israeli forces claimed that she was shot by resistance fighters. Israeli forces continue to spread misinformation throughout this attack on Gaza; you can read a critical analysis and response to Israeli attempts to frame Palestinian resistance here. It is incumbent on those who know better to not only share accurate information, but correct those around them and reach out to mainstream media who consistently have spread false and misleading information. Here is an eyewitness account in English by Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, a Palestinian-British doctor who arrived in Gaza to volunteer at local hospitals.

Last night and this morning, Palestinians in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, and elsewhere across the West Bank took to the streets across Palestine, standing in support of Gaza and with the resistance against Israeli colonialism and genocide. They also called out the complicity of the Palestinian Authority, and were met by tear gas and live bullets in return. No doubt, this uprising will continue. Across political factions, there is unity among the people in supporting each other and standing against the violence of a state so desperate to erase us. In Gaza, in response to new calls to evacuate certain areas, many Palestinians have stated clearly, “We will not leave.” Despite increasing zionist pressure campaigns on Palestinian communities throughout all of Palestine, including displacement of Palestinian communities and settler attacks in the West Bank, Palestinians are steadfast.

As we mourn, we must take action. We cannot build the new world we envision or create the justice we seek simply by asking for the mass murder to stop. We know that simply calling for a ceasefire is not enough, as tomorrow, Palestinians in Gaza will remain under siege, those in the West Bank will continue to face settler attacks and forced displacement, home demolitions will continue everywhere, and we will still suffer under zionist settler-colonialism. We need an end to the siege on Gaza and an end to Israeli colonialism.

Stand with Gaza and all Palestinians now—don’t stop organizing. Call your representatives and politicians of all stripes and state your demands, demonstrate wherever you can, educate your community, speak to your friends and get them to join in, and please continue to uplift Palestinian analysis and coverage of the situation—especially from those in Gaza.

Below is a list of specific actions you can take:

Until liberation and return,
Lara Kilani

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Good Shepherd Collective








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