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Canada taking ‘all necessary steps’ to probe Gaza hospital blast: Trudeau – National


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is working with allies and taking “all necessary steps” to determine what happened in the Gaza City hospital blast.

“Civilian life must always be protected and international and humanitarian law must always be respected. We are working closely with allies to determine exactly what happened,” Trudeau said at the closing press conference of the CARICOM summit in Ottawa on Thursday.

The Hamas militant group blamed Israel for the massive blast at the al-Ahli Hospital on Tuesday — with hospital officials saying hundreds died — while Israel blamed a rocket misfired by other Palestinian militants, Islamic Jihad.

Public outrage over the hospital explosion spread through the Middle East as U.S. President Joe Biden landed in Israel on Wednesday in hopes of preventing a wider conflict in the region after Hamas militants rampaged across communities in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

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Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he believes Israel is not responsible for the blast at the al-Ahli Hospital when they met Wednesday morning.

“I have faith in the source from which I’ve gotten it. Our Defense Department says it’s highly unlikely that it was Israelis. It would’ve had a different footprint,” Biden said.

“So I don’t know all the detail, but I do know the people at the Defense Department, who I respect, the intelligence community that I respect, it’s highly improbable that Israel did that.”

Trudeau was asked on Thursday what he thinks of Biden’s comment and he replied Canada is taking the necessary steps to look at everything before drawing conclusions on what happened.

Both Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Defence Minister Bill Blair were asked about Canada’s intelligence on the Gaza hospital and echoed the prime minister’s comments.

A senior political source and a national security source told Global News on Thursday that Canadian intelligence points to the same conclusion as U.S and Israel -that it came from within Gaza.

The senior political source said the reasons for going slowly are the stakes involved and what they described as an explosion of misinformation taking place. They said the goal is to set a precedent of being careful and discussing the matter with Five Eyes intelligence alliance partners, and that the United Kingdom is taking a similar approach.

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It’s not clear what additional information Trudeau has been assessing beyond that Five Eyes intelligence.

Click to play video: 'Deadly Gaza hospital blast unleashes anger in Arab world'

Deadly Gaza hospital blast unleashes anger in Arab world

The opposition Conservatives used question period on Wednesday to put questions to the government on what Canadian intelligence says about the hospital explosion, but a definitive answer was not provided.

On Tuesday night, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly tweeted that “bombing a hospital is an unthinkable act, and there is no doubt that doing so is absolutely illegal.”

Hours later, Trudeau tweeted that he was horrified by the loss of life at the hospital and said international law must be upheld, adding that it must be discovered who was responsible for the bombing and that the party must be held accountable.

— with files from The Associated Press.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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