Health employees evacuate 31 ‘very sick’ infants from Gaza’s largest hospital

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — Thirty-one untimely infants had been safely transferred from Gaza‘s principal hospital to a different within the south on Sunday, and can be moved to Egypt, well being officers mentioned, as scores of different critically wounded sufferers remained stranded there days after Israeli forces entered the compound.

The destiny of the newborns at Shifa Hospital had captured international consideration after the discharge of pictures displaying medical doctors making an attempt to maintain them heat. An influence blackout had shut down incubators and different gear, and meals, water and medical provides ran out as Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants exterior the hospital.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned on social media that the “very sick” infants had been evacuated, together with six well being employees and 10 employees relations. He mentioned they had been taken to a hospital within the southern Gaza metropolis of Rafah the place they’re receiving pressing care. They had been taken in ambulances of the Palestinian Red Crescent.

A WHO group that visited the hospital on Saturday mentioned 291 sufferers had been nonetheless there, together with the infants, trauma sufferers with severely contaminated wounds, and others with spinal accidents who’re unable to maneuver. Four infants died earlier than their go to, in accordance with Mohamed Zaqout, director of Gaza hospitals.

About 2,500 displaced individuals, cellular sufferers and medical employees left Shifa Hospital on Saturday morning, the WHO mentioned. It mentioned 25 medical employees remained, together with the sufferers.

“Patients and health staff with whom they spoke were terrified for their safety and health, and pleaded for evacuation,” the company mentioned, describing Shifa as a loss of life zone.

PHOTOS: UN group says 32 infants are amongst scores of critically unwell sufferers stranded in Gaza’s principal hospital

Israel has lengthy alleged that Hamas maintains a sprawling command submit inside and underneath Shifa, a part of its wider accusation that the fighters use civilians as cowl. It has portrayed the hospital as a key goal in its struggle to finish Hamas‘ rule in Gaza following the militant group’s wide-ranging assault into southern Israel six weeks in the past, which killed over 1,200 individuals and triggered the struggle.

Hamas and hospital employees deny the allegations, and critics have held up the hospital as a logo of what they are saying is Israel‘s reckless endangerment of civilians. Thousands have been killed in Israeli strikes, and there are severe shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel in the besieged territory.

Israeli troops who have been based at the hospital and searching its grounds for days say they have found guns and other weapons, and showed reporters the entrance to a tunnel shaft. The Associated Press couldn’t independently confirm Israel‘s findings.

Israel‘s military said Yemen-based Houthi rebels had seized a cargo ship in the southern Red Sea but said no Israelis were on board and that it wasn’t an Israeli ship. An announcement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s workplace described the ship as owned by a British firm.

There was no speedy remark from the Houthis. Earlier within the day, the Iranian-backed group threatened to focus on Israel-linked vessels within the Red Sea.

A U.N. ship database recognized the vessel’s homeowners as a Tel Aviv-based agency, Ray Shipping Ltd. Calls to Ray Shipping rang unanswered Sunday, and officers on the firm didn’t instantly reply to a written request for remark.

Heavy clashes had been reported within the built-up Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza in a single day into Sunday. “There was the constant sound of gunfire and tank shelling,” Yassin Sharif, who’s sheltering in a U.N.-run hospital within the camp, mentioned by cellphone. “It was another night of horror.”

Dozens of individuals had been killed in what witnesses described as an Israeli airstrike on a crowded U.N. shelter within the Jabaliya camp the day earlier than. AP images from an area hospital confirmed greater than 20 our bodies wrapped in bloodstained sheets.

The Israeli navy, which has repeatedly known as on Palestinians to depart northern Gaza, mentioned solely that its troops had been energetic within the space “with the aim of hitting terrorists.”

More than 11,500 Palestinians have been killed, in accordance with Palestinian well being authorities. An extra 2,700 have been reported lacking, believed buried underneath rubble. The depend doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants; Israel says it has killed 1000’s of militants.

Around 1,200 individuals have been killed on the Israeli facet, primarily civilians killed throughout Hamas‘ Oct. 7 attack, in which the group dragged some 240 captives back into Gaza and shattered Israel‘s sense of security. The military says 52 Israeli soldiers have been killed.

Hamas has released four hostages, Israel has rescued one, and the bodies of two hostages were found near Shifa in an area where there had been heavy fighting.

Israel, the United States and the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, which mediates with Hamas, have been negotiating over a hostage release for weeks. On Saturday, a senior White House official suggested it would need to be completed before the entry of large amounts of desperately needed aid.

“A release of a large number of hostages would result in a significant pause in fighting … and a massive surge of humanitarian relief,” Brett McGurk, the White House’s National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East, mentioned at a convention in Bahrain.

Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, mentioned Sunday he was “confident” a deal would quickly be reached, telling reporters that the “the sticking points, honestly, at this stage are more practical, logistical.”

More than two-thirds of Gaza‘s inhabitants of two.3 million have fled their properties. The U.N. company for Palestinian refugees, referred to as UNRWA, is struggling to supply fundamental companies to a whole bunch of 1000’s of individuals sheltering in and round faculties and different services. Their distress has worsened in latest days with the arrival of winter, as chilly winds and driving rain buffet tent camps.

Over the weekend, Israel allowed UNRWA to import sufficient gas to proceed humanitarian operations for an additional couple of days, and to maintain web and phone programs working.

Israel minimize off all gas imports firstly of the struggle, inflicting Gaza‘s sole energy plant and most water therapy programs to close down, leaving most residents with out electrical energy or working water.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant mentioned Saturday that Israel‘s forces had been increasing operations in Gaza City. “With every passing day, there are fewer places where Hamas terrorists can operate,” he mentioned, including that the militants would study that in southern Gaza “in the coming days.”

His feedback had been the clearest indication but that the navy plans to develop its offensive to southern Gaza, the place Israel has instructed Palestinian civilians to hunt refuge. Israel has repeatedly struck what it says are militant targets throughout the south, typically killing civilians.

The evacuation zone is already full of displaced civilians, and it was not clear the place they’d go if the offensive moved nearer. Egypt has refused to simply accept any inflow of Palestinian refugees, partially due to fears that Israel wouldn’t enable them to return.


Magdy reported from Cairo.

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