5:14pm 07/11/2023
Indonesia denies Israel claim over Gaza hospital
The Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip. AFP

JAKARTA: Indonesia denied on Tuesday an Israeli claim that a hospital built in Gaza using Indonesian funding sits atop a network of Hamas tunnels and is located near a launchpad for rocket attacks.

The hospital, situated in the north of the Gaza Strip near the fortified border with Israel, was built using Indonesian charity funds.

“The Indonesian Hospital in Gaza is a facility built by the Indonesian people entirely for humanitarian purposes and to serve the medical needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza,” Indonesia’s foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

The statement came a day after Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said the Indonesian Hospital had been built at a site that sat on top of a network of Hamas tunnels.

He also said Hamas was using a nearby area as a base to launch rockets into Israel.

“I will show you the reason why they built the hospital there. Unsurprisingly, Hamas built the hospital on top of their terror infrastructures,” Hagari said in a video statement posted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on YouTube.

“Here, the IDF identified a launch pad, meaning they launch rockets from here,” he added, pointing to what he said was photographic evidence of his claim.

Iqbal refuted the claims about the hospital, which, like other medical centers in war-ravaged Gaza, is currently treating patients far beyond its capacity.

The Indonesian charity that operates the hospital, MER-C, also denied the facility was used by Hamas.

“What Israel accused us of can be a precondition for them to launch an attack at the Indonesian hospital in Gaza,” MER-C chief Sarbini Abdul Murad said in Jakarta on Monday.

The “IDF’s accusation is a precondition to justify attacks against us, therefore we need to debunk it”, Murad added.

Hamas has repeatedly denied Israeli accusations that hospitals and other civilian infrastructure are being used by its operatives.

Israel has for a month relentlessly pounded the besieged Gaza Strip in its war on Hamas, after the militant group launched a cross-border attack on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians.

According to the Hamas-run health ministry, its campaign has killed more than 10,000 people — 4,000 of them children.


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