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18 Oct, 2023 17:01

Gaza hospital attack was ‘genocide’ – MMA star Khabib

The Russian fighter has been a vocal advocate for the Palestinian cause
Gaza hospital attack was ‘genocide’ – MMA star Khabib

Khabib Nurmagomedov, the Russian former undefeated UFC champion, has claimed the missile strike that devastated a hospital in Gaza late on Tuesday was an act of “genocide.”

“Bombing a hospital full of children and refugees is not a pathway towards peace,” Nurmagomedov, 35, wrote in a message on Instagram on Wednesday. “This is genocide.”

He added that “no one deserves to be bombed just because they were born where they were born,” along with posting a broken heart emoji and the flag of Palestine.

Nurmagomedov, who announced his retirement from mixed martial arts in 2020, was the first Muslim champion in UFC history, and has previously voiced his support for the Palestinian cause on social media.

Palestinian health officials have said that 471 people died in the Tuesday bombing at Al-Ahli Hospital in the besieged enclave, blaming it on Israel amid an unprecedented airstrike campaign on Gaza, launched in retaliation for Hamas’s October 7 incursion into Israel. About 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the Hamas assault. More than 3,000 have so far died in the bombardment of Gaza, health officials say, with several thousand more injured and around one million people displaced, according to UN data.

Israel has denied responsibility for the hospital strike, saying it was the result of a failed rocket launch by the Islamic Jihad group towards Israeli territory. A military spokesperson also said that the Gaza health ministry, which is run by Hamas, has exaggerated the casualty numbers.

Israel has said that 450 rockets fired by Palestinian militants have malfunctioned and detonated in Gaza since the start of the current hostilities. US President Joe Biden, who arrived in Israel on Wednesday, said alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahju that it appeared as though the hospital destruction was “done by the other team” – referring to Palestinian militants.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has called on both Israel and the US to make public any satellite imagery they may have to prove IDF forces were not to blame for the deadly blast.