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Bloody Blankets and ‘Lots of Bodies’ at a Devastated Gaza Hospital

Charred cars lining a parking lot. A courtyard littered with bloodied blankets and backpacks. Tattered clothing where dozens of bodies had lain.

The devastating impact of an explosion at the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday became clearer on Wednesday through videos that witnesses posted to social media. The Health Ministry in Gaza said hundreds of people were killed. Emergency workers were collecting bodies and remains in an effort to identify the dead.

“There are still lots of bodies they haven’t yet collected,” said Amir Ahmed, a paramedic with the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza City. “There are too many bodies.” He said all the victims would be buried in a mass grave at a funeral later on Wednesday.

“There is a big possibility that they will just put a number” on the body bags without any names, Mr. Ahmed added, “because many are in pieces.”

Palestinian officials blamed the carnage on an Israeli airstrike, an assertion that was disputed by the Israel Defense Forces, which said it was caused by an errant rocket fired by an armed Palestinian faction in Gaza. Neither side’s account could be independently verified immediately, and the cause of the blast and the precise death toll remained unclear.

Video of the aftermath of the explosion at the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, taken Wednesday morning by Motasem Mortaja, a Palestinian journalist.CreditCredit…Motasem Mortaja, via Instagram

Many of those killed at the hospital, which is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, were women and children, said Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza. He said doctors in another hospital in Gaza City were now performing surgery on patients on the floor or in corridors, often without anesthetic.

“The sudden increase of hundreds of victims with complex injuries far exceeded the capabilities of medical crews and ambulances,” he said in a statement.

Many of the wounded could die because of a severe shortage of medical supplies, water and electricity. Israel has imposed a complete siege of Gaza since last week, cutting off food, water, electricity and fuel.

Since Israel’s intense bombardment of Gaza began on Oct. 7, in response to a surprise attack by Hamas that killed at least 1,400 in Israel, residents have found that nowhere is safe.

About half of Gaza’s population of more than two million Palestinians have fled their homes since the Israeli bombardment began, according to the United Nations. Many have sought shelter in the corridors and courtyards of hospitals, believing that they would be less vulnerable there.

Those wounded in Tuesday’s explosion were taken to other hospitals in the city, which were already overwhelmed after 11 days of Israeli airstrikes on the besieged coastal strip.

A video of Palestinians being treated at Al Shifa Hospital, near the hospital that was struck, captured by the Palestinian journalist Motasem Mortaja.

The Palestinian journalist Motasem Mortaja captured a chaotic scene at one of those sites, Al Shifa Hospital, posting videos to social media of screaming children in bloodied clothing, women wailing in pain and men kneeling in prayer.

Hospital staff were treating the wounded wherever they could, rushing to bandage men lying on a floor red with their blood.

In one video, a young child lifts his shirt to reveal a wound to his chest. His hands, hair and clothes are dusty from the blast.

“I hope that this war ends soon,” Mr. Mortaja said in a voice memo sent Tuesday night to The Times. “We’ve never lived through a war this intense.”

Under a tent outside Al Shifa Hospital, where many of the dead and wounded were taken, workers lifted the dead from the blankets they were wrapped in and placed them in white body bags. In videos posted to Instagram and verified by The Times, other bodies lay exposed, and people walked past them in search of loved ones.

One man, standing over the bodies of two young boys, wailed in grief.

”I don’t have any more children. These were my only children,” he said.

Chevaz Clarke-Williams contributed production.

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