President Biden landed in Israel this morning as the world waited for evidence of whether a Hamas-linked group or Israel caused a devastating explosion yesterday at a hospital in Gaza City.
The explosion, evidently from a missile, killed hundreds of people and injured hundreds more. (This video, verified by Times journalists, shows the moment the blast destroyed the hospital.)
Both Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed the other side for the carnage. Gazan health authorities said it was an Israeli airstrike. Israeli officials said it was a failed rocket attack by Islamic Jihad, an armed group aligned with Hamas.
After Biden landed, he seemed to endorse Israel’s denial of responsibility. “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” he said. “But there’s a lot of people out there not sure.”
The explosion added even more uncertainty to an already unusual trip by a U.S. president to a war zone. In response to the explosion, Arab leaders canceled meetings with Biden as protests spread across the region. In Jordan, a crowd lit fires outside the Israeli Embassy. In Lebanon, large demonstrations shook Beirut.
In the rest of this newsletter, we will walk through Biden’s visit as well as what we know — and don’t know — about the explosion.
The hospital blast
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