Gaza: successful evacuation of 28 premature babies to Egypt

Gaza successful evacuation of 28 premature babies to Egypt

Twenty-eight premature babies, evacuated on Sunday from a hospital in Gaza City at the heart of the fighting between Israel and Hamas, arrived in Egypt on Monday, the Palestinian Islamist movement accusing Israel of a deadly strike on another besieged establishment.

Furthermore, Qatar and the United States, which are working towards an agreement to release hostages kidnapped by Hamas, in exchange for a truce, have reported progress in the negotiations.

Lined up on stretchers, all wearing the same little green cap, the babies were taken care of in incubators after crossing the border.

"Today, 28 of 31 premature babies, who were evacuated from al-Chifa hospital yesterday, were safely transferred to el-Arish (hospital) to receive medical treatment in Egypt," said Monday on X (ex-Twitter) the head of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that 12 of them had been transported to Cairo. Three premature babies are still hospitalized in the south of the Palestinian territory.

The al-Chifa hospital, which according to Israel housed a Hamas repairman in the heart of Gaza City, is deprived of electricity and the shortage of fuel in the small besieged territory prevents incubators from operating in particular.

The largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, al-Chifa was described by the WHO as a "death zone" where eight infants died before their transfer, according to a Palestinian official.

"Horrified"

In Israel, 1.200 people, the vast majority civilians, were killed, according to the authorities, in the attack launched on October 7 by Hamas commandos infiltrated from the Gaza Strip, of unprecedented scale and violence. in the history of the country. In retaliation, Israel has vowed to "annihilate" Hamas, an organization classified as terrorist by the United States, the European Union and Israel, and has relentlessly shelled the Palestinian territory, where its army has also been carrying out a ground offensive since October 27. .

 In the Gaza Strip, more than 13 people have been killed in Israeli bombardments, including more than 300 children, according to the Hamas government. “Killing children and innocent civilians will only fuel the resistance,” the spokesperson for the movement’s armed wing, who calls himself Abou Obeida, said on Monday.

In the north of the Gaza Strip, where most of the Israeli offensive is concentrated, a strike on Monday killed at least "12 patients and their relatives" and left "dozens injured" in the Indonesian hospital, on the border from the large Jabaliya refugee camp, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

Around 200 patients were evacuated from this hospital on Monday, in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), according to ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidreh. There are still 400 patients remaining in the facility, he added.

Truce for liberation?

The Islamist movement continues to repeat that Israel is waging "a war against hospitals" in Gaza, almost all of which in the north of the territory no longer work. Israel, for its part, accuses Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, of using hospitals for military purposes and of using the civilians there as "human shields", which the Palestinian movement denies.

The Israeli army says it has discovered in this immense complex a tunnel 55 meters long and dug 10 meters deep containing “grenade launchers, explosives and Kalashnikovs”.

On Monday, a senior Israeli military official assured that there were almost no more rocket attacks from Hamas towards Israel from northern Gaza. “Hamas still has firepower. If we want to eliminate it, we have to go south.

We cannot do otherwise,” said this official, on condition of anonymity, while hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians are piling up in the south. On Monday, warning sirens continued in Israel, in Tel -Aviv, according to AFP images.

On the day of the initial Hamas attack, around 240 people were taken hostage and taken to Gaza, according to the Israeli military. Qatar, which is mediating to try to obtain their release in exchange for a truce, assured Sunday that only "very minor" obstacles remained with a view to an agreement.

Monday, on the 45th day of the war between Hamas and Israel, a key ally of the United States, President Joe Biden said he believed an agreement was close.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which has so far facilitated the release of four hostages, announced Monday the meeting in Qatar between its president, Mirjana Spoljaric, and the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismaïl Haniyeh, to "move forward on humanitarian issues related to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza.

These advances have not been confirmed by either Hamas or Israel, whose government refuses any ceasefire without the release of the hostages. Their relatives were to meet the entire war cabinet on Monday. Families of Israeli children held hostage by Hamas took the UN to task on Monday, urging it to press for their release during a protest outside UNICEF in Tel Aviv.

“Dozens” of victims

Israel announced on Monday "expanding its operations in new neighborhoods", notably in the Jabaliya sector, on the outskirts of Gaza city. Artillery fire and airstrikes destroyed buildings in downtown Gaza, according to an AFP journalist.

Doctors at Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza told AFP they had received "dozens" of dead and injured people.

On Monday, the Doctors Without Borders clinic in Gaza City "was the target of fire", and "four MSF cars burned", a fifth cut in two, said the NGO, without news of one of its members and their loved ones.

“Our colleagues say that a wall collapsed and part of the building was ravaged by flames, while violent fighting took place all around. An Israeli tank was seen in the street,” added MSF . on X.

After the green light from Israel on Friday, around 120.000 liters of fuel, essential for hospitals, arrived on Saturday according to the UN, which considers these deliveries insufficient. According to the UN, nearly 1,7 million of the 2,4 million inhabitants have been displaced by the war in the Gaza Strip, subject since October 9 to a "complete siege" by Israel, which blocks the deliveries of food, water, electricity and medicine.

“Untenable” situation

In the town of Khan Younès (south), some are sheltering from the rain in makeshift tents lined up in a muddy parking lot near the Nasser hospital, according to images shot by AFP. On Monday, a first field hospital from Jordan arrived in the Gaza Strip to be installed in Khan Younes.

In the south of the territory, which is also not spared from the strikes, residents of Rafah on Monday searched the decline of their devastated neighborhood after a bombing on a building, according to AFP images.

“We were sleeping at home and we came to see what had happened after hearing a loud boom. We found buildings reduced to ruins,” said resident Shehda Mosallem.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock/A-One Rawan

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