The spiritual leader of the Church of England declared on Sunday that he was “assuming Jewish culpability” and that he had “no idea” how many people had perished in the explosion that occurred last week at an Anglican hospital in the Gaza Strip.
As the Gaza war enters its third week, the explosion that occurred on October 17 at the Al Ahli hospital has been one of the most contentious incidents.
Israel is accused by the ruling Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas of attacking the hospital by air. Israel refuted it, claiming that a Palestinian missile that had been fired into Israel had fallen short of its target, causing the explosion. Analyses from the United States, France, and Canada corroborate the Israeli story.
The Gaza health ministry has put the hospital death toll at 471. An Israeli official said it appeared to be “several dozen”. A U.S. intelligence report estimated the number of those killed to be “probably at the low end of the 100 to 300 spectrum”.
Asked during a visit to Jerusalem if he could corroborate a figure for the fatalities, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told reporters: “I have no idea about how many civilians there were. I’ve heard so many numbers.”