US President Joe Biden has said a deadly blast at a Gaza hospital appears to have been caused by Palestinian militants, backing Israel’s account of the incident as he visits the country.
Mr Biden, who landed in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, said he was “deeply saddened and outraged” by the explosion.
Israel’s military said it was caused by a failed Palestinian rocket launch.
But Palestinian officials said an Israeli air strike hit the hospital.
Health officials in Gaza have said almost 500 people were killed in the explosion, but no death toll has been confirmed.
Meanwhile, Mr Biden has announced that an agreement has been reached with Israel to allow humanitarian aid to move from Egypt into Gaza. However, Israel said it would not allow any aid to pass through its own territory until hostages being held by Hamas are released.
‘Deeply saddened and outraged’
Mr Biden’s high-stakes visit has been overshadowed by the blast at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital on Tuesday evening, which has further inflamed tensions and sparked protests across the region.
He landed in Tel Aviv on Wednesday where he was greeted warmly by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, before the pair hosted a joint news conference.
“I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday,” Mr Biden said.
“Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” he told Mr Netanyahu. “But there’s a lot of people out there not sure so we have to overcome a lot of things.”
Mr Biden was later asked by reporters what led him to conclude that Israel was not responsible, and said: “The data I was shown by my defence department.”
In the news conference, he reiterated his support for Israel and condemned the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from Gaza on 7 October that left 1,400 people dead.
At least 3,000 people have been killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes on Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials.
Mr Biden had planned to travel from Israel to Jordan to meet King Abdullah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, but that leg of the trip was cancelled after the hospital blast on Tuesday.
Jordan cancelled the meeting and condemned what it called “a great calamity and a heinous war crime”. The White House, meanwhile, said the decision had been “made in a mutual way” and Mr Biden would call Mr Abbas and Mr Sisi on his return flight to the US.