A group of 28 premature babies were evacuated from al-Shifa Hospital in the besieged Gaza Strip and taken to Egypt for urgent treatment as Palestinian officials said Israeli forces attacked the another hospital in northern Gaza.
The newborns were patients at al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest medical facility, where many others died after their incubators stopped working due to a lack of fuel as medical services collapsed during the Israeli ground and air attacks on Gaza City.
The babies were taken on Sunday to the al-Helal Emirati Maternity Hospital in Rafah in southern Gaza, so that their condition can be stabilized before traveling to Egypt by crossing the Rafah border on Monday.
“Three children remain in an Emirati hospital and are undergoing treatment,” a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman told Reuters news agency.
“All the children are fighting serious infections and continue to receive health care.”
Last week, Israeli forces seized al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility, to search for what they said was a Hamas tunnel network and command center built under the complex. Hamas denies the allegations.
During the Israeli operation, hundreds of patients, medical staff and evacuees left al-Shifa over the weekend and moved to the southern Gaza Strip.
Since doctors in al-Shifa raised the alarm about the condition of the hospital for premature babies and the lack of clean water and medicines in the neonatal ward, eight babies died, according to hospital official.
Indonesian Hospital Attack
In another hospital in northern Gaza, at least 12 people were killed by artillery fire on Monday and dozens were wounded, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
The ministry said hundreds of people were trapped in the facility, which was surrounded by Israeli tanks.
Reporting from the hospital, journalist Anas al-Sharif described the scenes inside as “chaos”.
“There is an extreme state of panic among patients,” he told Al Jazeera. “Victims piled up on the floor.”
The WHO chief said the United Nations agency was “shocked” by the attack on the Indonesian Hospital.
“Health workers and civilians should not be exposed to such horror, and especially while inside a hospital,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Health workers and civilians should not be exposed to such horror, and…
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) November 20, 2023
Indonesia’s foreign minister condemned the attack on the hospital, which was built in 2016 and was funded by Indonesia, and called it a “clear violation of international humanitarian law”.
“All countries, especially those with close ties to Israel, must use all their influence and capabilities to urge Israel to stop its atrocities,” said Retno Marsudi.
“We are very concerned about the fate of our colleagues and the fate of the injured and patients as well [displaced] people who can do more [been] took shelter there. There are no ambulances to reach them, and we fear that the wounded will die,” said Nahed Abu Taaema, director of Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza.
Like most hospitals and clinics in the northern half of the Gaza Strip, the Indonesian Hospital has largely ceased operations but is sheltering patients, staff and displaced people seeking shelter at the site after Israel launched the siege. attack on Gaza last month.
As fighting continues between Israeli forces and Hamas in Gaza, US and Israeli officials said a Qatari-mediated deal to release some of the prisoners held in the Palestinian enclave and end the fighting would temporarily to enable the delivery of aid to the affected civilians in the vicinity.
About 240 hostages were taken during a deadly attack in southern Israel by Hamas on October 7. About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed, according to Israeli tallies.
After the attack, Israel vowed to topple the armed group, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, and launched a devastating bombing and offensive on Gaza land.
At least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 5,500 children, according to Palestinian officials.