The Foreign Secretary said the UK would investigate the destruction of a hospital in Gaza City after Israel and Palestinian militants blamed each other for the blast.

Hundreds of people were killed in an explosion that hit the building while it was crowded with the injured and other Palestinians seeking shelter, Gaza health officials said.

The Israeli military denied responsibility for the devastation, saying the explosion was caused by a misfire of an Islamic Jihad rocket, while Hamas blamed Israeli airstrikes.

In a post on X, James Cleverly said: “The destruction of Al-Ahli Hospital is a devastating loss of life.” The UK was clear. The protection of civilian life must come first.

“The UK will work with our allies to find out what happened and protect innocent civilians in Gaza.”

This comes as US President Joe Biden arrives in Israel on Wednesday as part of a diplomatic mission and concerns grow over the conflict.

The Associated Press reported that footage it confirmed was from the hospital showed the burning building and the grounds littered with bodies, including many young children.

Hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge in al-Ahli and other hospitals in Gaza City in recent days, hoping to be spared from the bombardment after Israel ordered all residents to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip.

Hamas called the blast a “terrible massacre” caused by an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli military blamed Islamic Jihad – a smaller, more radical group that often works with Hamas.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the hospital was run by the Anglican Church.

“I renew my call for the protection of civilians in this devastating war,” he said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak could travel to Israel as early as Thursday amid growing concerns over the conflict, according to multiple reports.

It would follow visits from Mr Biden and Chancellor Olaf Scholz amid fears the conflict could expand into a wider regional problem.

Downing Street did not comment publicly on the Prime Minister’s travel plans.

This comes after a British teenager was confirmed to be one of the many victims of the Hamas attack on Israel.

Yahel Sharabi, 13, was killed along with her mother Lianne, while her older sister Noiya, 16, and father Eli are still missing.

At least six Britons were killed in the Hamas attacks on October 7 and another 10 are missing – some fear they are dead.

The Hamas attack killed at least 1,400 people, many of them civilians, and injured thousands more.

At least 2,778 Palestinians have died as Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza, cutting off supplies of fuel, water, food and medicine from access to the crowded area home to more than two million people.

The UK has called on Israel to restore water supplies to Gaza, with No 10 refusing to say whether its ally is complying with international law during its siege.

“We continue to call on Israel, as a democracy with which we work closely, to act within the framework of international law in its actions. I think they are taking steps to do that,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

Israeli airstrikes continued early Tuesday, even inside the evacuation zone where Israel had told residents to gather ahead of the expected ground assault on Gaza.

More than 900 people were brought back from Israel and all British nationals registered with the Foreign Office who wanted to leave were apparently allocated seats.

British officials are working to secure the opening of the Rafah border crossing to allow British citizens to escape to Egypt and bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.

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