AN Israeli air strike has hit a Gaza City hospital packed with wounded and other Palestinians seeking shelter, killing hundreds, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

If confirmed, the attack would be by far the deadliest Israeli air strike in five wars fought since 2008.

The Israeli military has denied involvement, saying the explosion was caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.

Photos from the al-Ahli Hospital showed fire engulfing the hospital halls, shattered glass and bodies scattered across the area. The photos could not be independently verified.

The ministry, which is run by Hamas, said at least 500 people had been killed.

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Hamas called the hospital strike “a horrific massacre”. It said in a statement that most of the casualties were displaced families, patients, children and women.

Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for hundreds of people, hoping they would be spared bombardment after Israel ordered all residents of the city and surrounding areas to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said there were still no details on the hospital deaths, adding: “We will get the details and update the public. I don’t know to say whether it was an Israeli air strike.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf posted on Twitter/X that there was "no justification" for the attack.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said "international law must be upheld".

As of 10:30pm on Tuesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has not commented on the attack.

Sky News reported that Sunak could visit Israel as soon as Thursday, with US President Joe Biden due to visit on Wednesday, amid growing concerns about the crisis in the Middle East.

Israel sealed off Gaza after the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7 that killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and resulted in some 200 taken captive into Gaza.

Hamas militants in Gaza have launched rockets every day since, aiming at cities across Israel.

Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed at least 2,778 people and wounded 9,700, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Nearly two thirds of those killed were children, a ministry official said.

Another 1,200 people across Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead, health authorities said.

More than one million Palestinians have fled their homes — roughly half of Gaza’s population — and 60% are now in the approximately eight-mile long area south of the evacuation zone, the UN said.

Aid workers warned that the territory was near complete collapse. Hospitals were on the verge of losing electricity, threatening the lives of thousands of patients, and hundreds of thousands of people searched for bread and water.

The UN agency for Palestinians said more than 400,000 displaced people are crowded into schools and other facilities in the south. The agency said it has only one litre of water a day for each of its staff members trapped in the territory.