'The smell of the dead is everywhere': Inside the aftermath of the Gaza hospital explosion that killed hundreds

18 October 2023, 12:42

Hundreds have been killed and wounded in the blast
Hundreds have been killed and wounded in the blast. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Horrific images show the carnage of the aftermath of the Gaza hospital explosion that killed hundreds.

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The scale of the devastation at al-Ahli Hospital has shocked the world as the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and terror groups in the strip traded accusations and issued denials.

Witnesses said the air was thick with the "smell of bodies" as doctors posed with the bodies of children they say were victims of the detonation.

Photos of wounded and bloodied children arriving at another hospital, al-Shifa, after the al-Ahli blast have also emerged.

Images show men combing through the scene, with streets and walls stained with blood and debris scattered around.

Body parts were still being pulled from the rubble while corpses in white sheets were taken out of the devastated buildings.

Read more: 'It wasn't us': Israel releases new audio of militants 'admitting to hospital blast' that killed hundreds in Gaza

Wounded have moved to another hospital which fears it could run out of power
Wounded have moved to another hospital which fears it could run out of power. Picture: Alamy

Torched cars surround the scorched ground where the explosion set off.

Dr Fadel Naim, the head of the hospital's orthopaedic surgery department, said: "Help us, help us, there are people killed and wounded inside the hospital.

"The hospital was full of dead and wounded, dismembered bodies, and dead.

Read more: Risk of UK terror atrocity has increased after 'monstrous attacks' by Hamas in Israel, MI5 chief warns

"We tried to save whoever can be saved but the number was too big for the hospital team to be able to save... We saw them alive but we couldn't help them and they were martyred."

Jamil Abdullah, a Palestinian-Swede, said: "There are corpses in the streets. Buildings are crashing down on their inhabitants.

"The smell of the dead is everywhere."

Injured civilians now seeking treatment at another hospital in Gaza, al-Shifa, face another crisis as fears grow that facility will soon lose power. Israel has shut off power to the strip and it sole power plant has shut down.

The blast site, where Israel says a terrorist rocket malfunctioned while Gaza militants say the IDF attacked
The blast site, where Israel says a terrorist rocket malfunctioned while Gaza militants say the IDF attacked. Picture: Alamy

Mohammed Abu Selmia, the director of al-Shifa, warned power to his hospital could run out on Wednesday.

He said: "We are squeezing five beds into a single tiny room. We need equipment, we need medicine, we need beds, we need everything.

"I think Gaza's medical sector will collapse within hours."

Health authorities in the Gaza strip put the death toll at 500 while the civil defence group there estimated it was about 300.

Israel says it did not hit the hospital and has blamed Islamic Jihad for the blast, claiming the group tried to fire a rocket but it malfunctioned.

Men comb through the debris in the aftermath of the explosion
Men comb through the debris in the aftermath of the explosion. Picture: Alamy
Victims of the blast included children
Victims of the blast included children. Picture: Alamy

The IDF released new surveillance images of the hospital compound, saying it showed the failed launch site nearby which it claims triggered the blast.

Photos comparing the damaged to craters made by Israeli weapons were displayed next to the hospital images.

It also put out audio on Wednesday morning which it says contains admissions by Hamas that Islamic Jihad were responsible for the explosion.

Islamic Jihad said previously: "The accusations put forward by the enemy are false and baseless."

Hamas, which massacred more than 1,000 Israelis in the biggest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust and kidnapped about 200 people, said the blast was "genocide".

Visiting Israel on Wednesday, US president Joe Biden said it looked like the "other team" was responsible when he spoke to Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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