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The Gaza hospital where hundreds were reported killed is a mainstay for Palestinians.

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The Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, where Palestinian authorities say hundreds of people were killed by an explosion on Tuesday, has a long history in the region.

The hospital is in the southern part of Gaza City and has long operated amid conflict, contending with border clashes and financial and practical obstacles arising from the political situation. But since the war between Israel and Hamas began following the deaths of more than 1,400 people in Israel during Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, the institution has found itself in the middle of a military operation and under fire.

On Saturday, rocket fire injured four staff members, according to the hospital, prompting the Most Rev. Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, to call for the reversal of Israel’s order for Palestinians to evacuate from the north of Gaza ahead of a planned ground offensive. “Hospitals and patients in Gaza are in grave danger,” he warned, adding that “they are facing catastrophe.”

After the blast on Tuesday, the archbishop said, “I mourn with our brothers and sisters — please pray for them,” in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

In addition to serving the sick, the hospital has also been serving as a shelter for Palestinians who have nowhere to go amid the chaos. After Israel called for Palestinians to evacuate the area, many civilians were sheltering at the hospital before it was hit.

The hospital is operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, which also runs schools and clinics in the Palestinian territories, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. It was founded in 1882 by medical missionaries from the Church of England and currently operates under the authority of the Anglican Episcopal Church.

Gaza’s population is mostly Muslim, as is Ahli Arab’s staff, and, despite the hospital’s Christian roots, it serves people of all faiths. In a 2018 interview with the Episcopal News Service, Suhaila Tarazi, the hospital’s director, said doctors and staff there are working “in the most difficult and gloomy situation.”

Now, that situation has become far more dire. In a statement on Tuesday, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem condemned the strike on the hospital.

“Gaza remains bereft of safe havens,” the statement said.



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