North Korea’s foreign ministry accused Israel of bombing a hospital in the Gaza Strip, claiming it had openly committed a war crime “under the undisguised patronage of the United States.”
“Israel’s bombing of health facilities, which international law requires to be protected as a matter of priority in peacetime and wartime, is an unimaginable war crime and a crime against humanity,” said the ministry spokesperson as cited by the North’s state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) on Oct. 26.
“What cannot be overlooked is that these crimes were committed with the blatant patronage of the United States,” said the spokesperson, adding that “the U.S. shipped Israel massive amounts of munitions and sent two carrier strike groups into Middle Eastern waters, giving Israel the green light to slaughter Palestinians with impunity.”
The spokesperson also accused the U.S. of being an “accomplice” of Israel.
“The fact that the U.S. covered up Israel’s criminal behavior immediately after the hospital bombing, with the lame excuse that the attack was carried out by forces other than Israel, shows that the U.S. is a silent accomplice to Israel’s murderous rampage.”
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said last week that 471 people were killed in an explosion at Al-Ahl al-Arabi Hospital on Oct. 17. According to Palestinians and Arab nations, an Israeli airstrike destroyed the hospital.
But Israel said the explosion was caused by a failed missile launch by Hamas, a Palestinian militant Islamic Jihad group. The group has denied responsibility.
A U.S. official stated on Oct. 25 that U.S. intelligence officials have “high confidence” that the explosion was caused by a Palestinian rocket that broke up mid-flight, and not by Israel.
The mortality toll and number of injuries from the hospital explosion are still unknown, according to U.S. officials.
This is the second time in a week that Pyongyang has criticized the U.S. over the Israel conflict, coinciding with its recent efforts to form an anti-American “united front.”
Early this week, North Korea blamed the Israel-Palestine conflict on the U.S. by saying that the Middle East conflict was a “tragedy created entirely by the U.S.”
“The U.S. has turned a blind eye to Israel, its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, continuous armed assaults, civilian casualties, and the expansion of Jewish settlements,” said KCNA in a separate report on Monday.
At that time, KCNA made no mention of the Hamas attack that triggered the conflict or Washington’s mediation efforts to deter Israel from deploying ground forces in Gaza.
Edited by Mike Firn and Elaine Chan.