30 premature babies evacuated from Al Shifa Hospital and are bound to Egypt - GulfToday

30 premature babies evacuated from Al Shifa Hospital and are bound to Egypt

This photo released by Dr Marawan Abu Saada shows prematurely born Palestinian babies in Shifa Hospital. AP

At least 30 premature babies were evacuated from Gaza's main hospital on Sunday and will be transferred to Egypt, Palestinian health officials said, as scores of other critically wounded patients remained stranded there days after Israeli forces entered the compound.

The fate of the newborns at Al Shifa Hospital had captured global attention after the release of images showing doctors trying to keep them warm. A power blackout had shut down incubators and other equipment, and food, water and medical supplies ran out as Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants outside the hospital.

A World Health Organisation team that visited the hospital on Saturday said 291 patients were still there, including 32 babies in extremely critical condition, trauma patients with severely infected wounds, and others with spinal injuries who are unable to move.

Medhat Abbas, a spokesman for the ministry, confirmed the evacuation of 30 babies. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said it evacuated 31 babies in coordination with UN bodies. It said they would be transferred to a hospital run by the United Arab Emirates in the Egyptian border city of Rafah. There was no immediate comment from the WHO, and it was not clear if all the babies had been evacuated.

Underscoring the perils of movement inside the coastal enclave, Doctors Without Borders said a convoy of clearly marked vehicles carrying staff and their families was fired upon in Gaza City on Saturday. A relative of a staff member was killed and another person was wounded, the aid group said.

About 2,500 displaced people, mobile patients and medical staff left Shifa Hospital on Saturday morning, the WHO said. It said 25 medical staff remained, along with the patients.

"Patients and health staff with whom they spoke were terrified for their safety and health, and pleaded for evacuation,” the agency said, describing Shifa as a death zone.

Associated Press

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