Thirty-one premature babies have been evacuated from northern Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital to southern Gaza, where they are being prepared to enter Egypt for medical care.
When the Israeli siege on al-Shifa began, there were 39 babies in the Neonatal ICU who were removed from their incubators due to power outages. Eight died before they could be evacuated, including two who were pronounced dead just before the rescue operation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the 31 babies were evacuated in Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances. The WHO said that doctors found “all the babies are fighting serious infections due to lack of medical supplies and impossibility to continue infection control measures in al-Shifa Hospital.”
After visiting the hospital, the WHO described al-Shifa as a “death zone” with a mass grave at the entrance as dozens of patients have died. About 250 patients in serious condition remain at the hospital, with about 20 hospital workers left to take care of them.
Israel has justified its hospital siege by claiming Hamas had a command center underneath al-Shifa, a claim backed by the US. But Israel has yet to provide evidence for its assertion.
The Israeli military released video footage on Sunday that purported to show tunnels that go underneath the hospital. But the presence of tunnels in the hospital is not sufficient evidence that Hamas has a command center under al-Shifa since it’s known that Israel built a significant basement under al-Shifa when it ruled over Gaza in the 1980s. Some reports have said the Israeli construction also included a network of tunnels.