Irish deputy premier calls for independent probe into Gaza hospital strike

Micheal Martin has said the suffering of the Gazan people was ‘immense’ and ‘extraordinary’.

By Grinne N. Aodha
Wednesday 18 October 2023 10:08 BST
Tanaiste Micheal Martin speaking to the media on the situation in the Middle East (PA)
Tanaiste Micheal Martin speaking to the media on the situation in the Middle East (PA) (PA Wire)

Ireland’s deputy premier has unreservedly condemned the deadly strike on a hospital in Gaza city and called for an independent investigation into the incident.

The strike on al Ahli hospital on Tuesday evening has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of patients, staff and people who had been seeking refuge in the building.

Tanaiste Micheal Martin has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and said the suffering of the Gazan people was “immense” and “extraordinary”.

“Ultimately the determination of any given incident of a breach of international law or a war crime would be a matter for the International Criminal Court,” he told RTE Radio.

He added: “All efforts have been on getting a humanitarian corridor established through the Rafah crossing.

“We don’t have direct authority to execute that, quite clearly, but we are of the view that it’s already too late.

“It’s absolutely vital that water and food and medical supplies, because the hospitals are unbelievably stretched, get in there and also it enables citizens to get out of Gaza, Irish citizens, citizens from all over the world, who are in Gaza who are anxious to exit through the Rafah crossing.

“I believe there is intensive ongoing discussions to get that done,” he said, adding that he would like to believe that this was “more likely” after Tuesday night’s attack.

Mr Martin said the release of all hostages by Hamas without conditions “would help” with those discussions.

He said the evacuation of Irish citizens and other foreign citizens from Gaza depended on the opening of the Rafah crossing.

Israel’s ambassador to Ireland said that the “terrible” strike against a hospital in Gaza is a war crime, and blamed the deaths on a failed rocket launch on Islamic jihadists.

Asked about allowing humanitarian aid to be brought into Gaza, Dana Ehrlich said Hamas was to blame for the conditions in Gaza.

“I think they are deprived of their basic conditions because of Hamas,” she said.

“Unfortunately, time and time again in the past, we’ve seen that Hamas abuses that help that aid that we supply to the Gaza Strip.

“They abuse not just equipment but the trucks themselves in order to smuggle out their people, can anyone guarantee that they don’t smuggle out our hostages that are now in Gaza?

“There are a lot of components right now within this horrible situation,” she told RTE Radio.

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