'Hamas blocked the way' - Israeli PM's spokesperson in staggering claim Hamas stopped exit at Rafah border

'Hamas blocked the way' - Israeli PM's spokesperson in staggering claim Hamas stopped exit at Rafah border

The Israeli PM's spokesperson hits out at Hamas

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 18/10/2023

- 16:54

Updated: 19/10/2023

- 08:38

It comes after a huge blast at a hospital in Gaza City

Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson has accused Hamas and Islamic Jihad of “maximising” civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip in a bid to turn others against Israel.

It comes after a huge blast at a hospital in Gaza City, with hundreds feared dead.

Hamas blamed Israel for the explosion, but the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) claimed the blast was caused by rockets misfired from Palestinian group Islamic Jihad.

US President Joe Biden has sided with Israel on the matter, saying it appears as though the incident was caused by “the other team”.

Scenes outside a hospital explosion in Gaza and Tal Heinrich

Tal Heinrich says the country takes 'zero responsibility' for what happens in Gaza


Speaking on GB News, Tal Heinrich, spokesperson for the Israeli PM, said the country takes “zero responsibility” for the atrocities we are seeing in the Gaza Strip, saying Hamas brought it upon themselves.

She added that attacks from Israel aim to limit civilian casualties, but Hamas and Islamic Jihad are working against their own people in a sick bid to make Israel’s acts appear worse.


“We have zero responsibility for whatever happens in the Gaza Strip”, she said.

“The Gaza Strip is under Hamas control. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is 100 per cent funded by Iran, by the way, Hamas is 93 per cent.

“They are acting against Israel, but not only Israel, also their own citizens. Israel is seeking to limit civilian casualty, but Hamas want to do the opposite.

“They want to maximise civilian casualties, on the Israel side and the Palestinian side. The higher the number they put out, the greater their success.”

Israeli tanks move near Gaza borderIsraeli tanks move near Gaza borderGETTY

She hit out at Hamas’s suggestion that humanitarian efforts from other countries are being scuppered by Israel, arguing that Gaza were hindering the process for themselves by blocking the Rafah border, which she claims happened just days ago.

She said: “Just a few days ago, there was an attempt to release four nationals that are being held in Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, which is a border between Gaza and Egypt, then Hamas blocked the way.

“They didn’t let them out. Hamas is the one committing war crimes here.”

Pressed by Mark Longhurst to clarify further, she refused to do so.

GazaSmoke rises following Israeli strikes in GazaReuters

The hospital strike has drawn widespread condemnation, including from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who tweeted: “I am horrified by the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians.”

He added that “hospitals, clinics, medical personnel, and UN premises are explicitly protected under international law”.

Witnesses said the strike on al-Ahli Arab Hospital sent blast waves through the forecourt, where hundreds of civilians were sheltering.

Initial estimates suggested that between 200 and 300 people died, but health authorities in Gaza said at least 500 people were killed.

A spokesman for Palestinian Islamic Jihad denied Israel’s suggestion that it was responsible, calling it a “lie and a fabrication”.

He added: “The occupation is trying to cover for the horrifying crime and massacre they committed against civilians.”

The bombing caused Joe Biden’s summit with Arab leaders in Jordan to be cancelled, but that did not stop the US President from jetting into Tel Aviv to visit his ally Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a statement Biden said: “[I was] outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted.

“Immediately upon hearing this news, I spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, and prime minister Netanyahu of Israel and have directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened.

“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy.”

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