December 1, 2023


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Gaza’s premature babies are evacuated to Egypt as Israeli tanks surround the second hospital

Gaza’s premature babies are evacuated to Egypt as Israeli tanks surround the second hospital

  • The latest developments:
  • US Defense Secretary Austin says he expects Israel to conduct its operations within the law of armed conflict
  • The United Nations says that 69,000 liters of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt on Sunday

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – 28 premature babies were transferred from Gaza’s largest hospital to Egypt for urgent treatment on Monday, while Palestinian authorities and the World Health Organization said 12 people were killed in another Gaza hospital surrounded by Israeli tanks. .

The newborns were in Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, where a number of others died after their incubators broke down amid the collapse of medical services during the Israeli military attack on Gaza City.

Israeli forces took control of the Shifa neighborhood last week to search for what they said was a network of tunnels belonging to the Hamas movement built under it. Hundreds of patients, medical staff and displaced people left Shifa Hospital over the weekend, with doctors saying forces expelled them and Israel saying the departure was voluntary.

Live footage broadcast by the Egyptian Cairo Channel showed medical staff carefully lifting infants from inside an ambulance and placing them in mobile incubators, which were then transported across a parking lot towards other ambulances.

The children were transferred on Sunday to a hospital in Rafah, on the southern border of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, until their condition stabilized before being transferred to Egypt. The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that 12 people were flown to Cairo.

A World Health Organization spokesman said that all the children who were evacuated “suffered serious injuries.”

Eight infants have died since doctors at Al Shifa Hospital launched an international alert this month about 39 premature babies at risk due to a lack of infection control, clean water and medicines in the neonatal ward.

12 dead in the hospital, which was surrounded by Israeli tanks

In the Indonesian hospital funded by Jakarta, the Gaza Ministry of Health said that at least 12 Palestinians were killed and dozens injured as a result of shooting at the compound surrounded by Israeli tanks.

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Health officials said 700 patients and staff were exposed to Israeli fire.

The Palestinian Wafa News Agency said that the facility located in the town of Beit Lahia, northeast of Gaza, was subjected to artillery shelling. Hospital workers denied the presence of any armed men in the building.

WHO chief Tedros said he was “appalled” by the attack, which he also said killed 12 people, including patients, citing unspecified reports.

The IDF said that forces returned fire on fighters in the hospital while taking “numerous measures to minimize harm” to non-combatants.

The Israeli army told Reuters: “During the night, terrorists opened fire from inside the Indonesian hospital in Gaza towards Israeli army forces operating outside the hospital.” “In response, IDF forces directly targeted the specific source of enemy fire. No shells were fired towards the hospital.”

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Ukraine, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin affirmed the position of the United States, Israel’s strongest ally, on the necessity of delivering humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

“We have said every step of the way that we expect the Israelis to conduct their operations in accordance with the law of armed conflict,” Austin said. “… They must do everything in their power, or they should do everything in their power, to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”

The United Nations said 69,000 liters of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt on Sunday after Israel confirmed it would begin allowing the delivery of about 70,000 liters per day, “far below the minimum requirements for basic humanitarian operations.”

Like all other health facilities in the northern half of Gaza, the Indonesian hospital has largely ceased operations but is still housing patients, staff and displaced residents.

Israel has ordered the evacuation of the north, but thousands of civilians remain. Food, fuel, medicines and water are running out across the Strip, which has been subject to the Israeli siege that has been ongoing for six weeks.

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said its clinic in Gaza City came under fire on Monday.

In the south, where hundreds of thousands of Gazans who fled the northern Strip are sheltering, at least 14 Palestinians were killed in two Israeli raids on homes in Rafah, according to Gaza health authorities.

At least five people were killed and 10 others wounded when an Israeli airstrike hit a housing unit in Khan Yunis, at the southern end of the Strip, according to medical sources at Gaza’s Nasser Hospital. There was no immediate Israeli comment.

Fierce fighting around the main refugee camp

Eyewitnesses also reported bouts of violent fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli forces that attempted to advance to the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, which houses 100,000 people, and which, according to Israel, is considered a major stronghold for activists.

Palestinian medics say that repeated Israeli bombing of Jabalia, an urban extension of Gaza City that arose from a Palestinian refugee camp since the 1948 Israeli-Arab War, has killed dozens of civilians.

The Israeli army issued a statement accompanied by video of air strikes and forces moving from house to house in Gaza, saying they killed three Hamas brigade leaders and a group of Palestinian fighters, without specifying specific locations.

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Meanwhile, Hamas said on its Telegram account that it had fired a barrage of rockets towards Tel Aviv. Eyewitnesses also reported that rockets were fired at central Israel.

Although the fighting continues, US and Israeli officials said a Qatari-brokered agreement was close to releasing some hostages.

US President Joe Biden said they believe an agreement is close.

White House spokesman John Kirby said of the hostage agreement, “We are closer now than we have ever been before.”

About 240 hostages were taken during a deadly cross-border attack by Hamas militants on October 7, prompting Israel to invade Palestinian territories to target Hamas. About 1,200 people were killed, most of them civilians, in the Hamas attack, according to Israeli statistics, and it was the bloodiest day in Israel’s 75-year history.

Since then, the Hamas-run government in Gaza has said at least 13,300 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 5,600 children and 3,550 women, due to ongoing Israeli bombing.

The United Nations says that two-thirds of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million are homeless.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who took office on January 1, 2017, told reporters: “We are witnessing the killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I took office as Secretary-General.”

Additional reporting by Clauda Tanius in Dubai and Emma Farge in Geneva and the Reuters bureaus. Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Mark Heinrich and Nick Macfie, Editing by Peter Graff, William MacLean and Sharon Singleton

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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A senior correspondent with nearly 25 years of experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace agreement between the two sides.