Israel targets Indonesian hospital after evacuation of 31 premature babies from Al Shifa

Israel targets Indonesian hospital after evacuation of 31 premature babies
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After emptying the Al Shifa hospital, the largest in the Gaza Strip, of the wounded and medical personnel, the Israeli army targeted the Indonesian hospital this Monday, also in the north of the enclave, where thousands of people, including patients and displaced persons, have been evacuated. refugee for weeks. Israeli troops are focused on clearing medical facilities they say are used by Hamas fighters to hide their headquarters. Indonesia, the country that finances the health center, has denied these accusations.

At least 12 people, including wounded and medical personnel, died this Monday in direct attacks by the Israeli army on the Indonesian hospital, located near Jabaliya, reported the Gaza Ministry of Health, controlled by Hamas. "Israeli occupation forces put thousands of wounded, medical personnel and displaced people in the circle of death as a result of direct and repeated attacks on the Indonesian hospital," said ministry spokesman Ashraf al Qudra. According to Health, "it was attacked with artillery by tanks", causing numerous injuries, including the head of the orthopedics department, Dr. Adnan al Bursh, with a serious head wound.

The Indonesian hospital, "attacked with artillery by tanks"

The advance on the Indonesian hospital came a day after the World Health Organization evacuated 31 premature babies from Al Shifa Hospital, where they were among more than 250 seriously ill or injured patients trapped there days after forces Israelis stormed the complex.

The plight of Gaza's hospitals is at the center of a battle of narratives about the brutal toll of war on Palestinian civilians, thousands of whom have been killed or buried in the rubble since the six-week war ended. sparked by the Hamas massacre in southern Israel on October 7. Israel says Hamas uses civilians as human shields and shows images of a tunnel found near Al Shifa hospital, while critics say Israel's siege and relentless airstrikes amount to collective punishment of the 2.3 million Palestinians of the territory.

Search for survivors in the Yabaliya refugee camp, near the Indonesian hospital, on Saturday


Marwan Abdallah, a medical worker at the Indonesian hospital, explained that Israeli tanks were visible from the windows. "You can see them moving and shooting," he said. “The women and children are terrified. “There are constant sounds of explosions and gunshots.” Al Jazeera television broadcast footage apparently filmed from inside the hospital showing tanks firing just outside the facility.

Abdallah added that the hospital had received dozens of dead and wounded in airstrikes and shelling overnight. He added that medical staff and displaced people fear that Israel will lay siege to the hospital and force its evacuation. The Israeli military, which rarely publicizes troop movements, had no immediate comment.

In the evacuation, many moved to the south of the enclave, where Israel's attacks are less intense, but some, especially the most seriously injured who could not endure that displacement, went to the Indonesian hospital, in the city of Jabalia, today attacked for Israel. Due to the expansion of the Israeli army's ground operation towards this city and the refugee camp it houses, Tel Aviv ordered the evacuation of the area on Sunday. The same one in which two airstrikes killed at least 80 people over the weekend, including a UN school housing displaced people.

Premature babies evacuated, but in critical condition

UN staff, in coordination with the Palestinian Red Crescent, were able to safely evacuate 31 premature babies from Al Shifa on Sunday, who were in critical condition after having to be removed from their incubators due to lack of fuel due to the blockade. Israeli, to a hospital in southern Gaza, and then transferred to neighboring Egypt. Four other babies died in the two days before the evacuation, according to Mohamed Zaqout, director of Gaza hospitals. These join the other three who also perished after leaving the incubator.

The newborns were transferred in temperature-controlled incubators from Al Shifa, in Gaza City, to Al Helal Al Emarati hospital in Rafah, in the south of the Strip, where "their condition is stabilizing and they are being cared for in the unit." neonatal intensive care," according to Unicef's Middle East and North Africa office.


Medical staff treat premature babies from Al Shifa at the Rafah hospital in southern Gaza

Hatem Ali / The Press

In addition to not having electricity, the Al Shifa hospital has been left without drinking water, food and medical supplies for several days, while Israeli forces continue to carry out an incursion inside the medical center. All of this contributed to the survival of only 31 of the nearly 40 premature babies who were in that hospital a little over a week ago, according to Gaza Health.

"The condition of the newborns was rapidly deteriorating following the tragic deaths of several babies and the complete collapse of all medical services in Al Shifa," the note stated. Dr. Zaqout explained to the AP that some of the babies were dehydrated or had developed gastritis due to undisinfected water. The lack of medication had caused others to develop sepsis and some to suffer hypothermia when they could not be placed in incubators.

The babies were dehydrated or had developed gastritis due to undisinfected water due to lack of fuel

These babies are expected to be transferred to Egypt on Monday, along with their mothers or closest relatives, to provide them with adequate medical care, after their incubators stopped working at the Al Shifa hospital due to the electricity outage caused by the imposed blockade. for Israel. Red Crescent spokeswoman Nebal Farsakh told the BBC that some of the parents had been killed in Israeli airstrikes. A Gaza Health Ministry Facebook page urged the parents of the babies, whose whereabouts were unknown after being ordered to evacuate Gaza City, to reunite with their babies at the Rafah hospital.

MSF convoy attacked

In the midst of the evacuation operations of the Al Shifa medical staff, Doctors Without Borders reported this weekend that a relative of a humanitarian worker from the NGO died and another was injured in an attack against the medical-humanitarian organization's convoy. which was trying to evacuate 137 people, Palestinian MSF staff and their families. These people had been trapped for a week in the MSF facility located near Al Shifa hospital in Gaza.

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