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Israel-Hamas war: 28 premature babies evacuated from al-Chifa arrived in Egypt

Premature babies are prepared for transport to Egypt   -  
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Fatima Shbair/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Twenty-eight premature babies who remained in Gaza's al-Chifa hospital after it was evacuated on Saturday arrived in Egypt on Monday via the Rafah crossing, the World Health Organization (WHO) and state media said.

“Today, Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances transported 28 premature babies, who arrived from Al-Chifa Hospital on Sunday, from the Emirates Hospital in Rafah (Gaza) to the Rafah crossing point” , the only exit from Gaza to the outside that is not controlled by Israel , the WHO announced in a press release.

"The 28 infants arrived in Egypt and three other babies continue to receive treatment at the Emirates Hospital" in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, the organization said. The Egyptian state media Al-Qahera News initially announced the arrival of 29 babies, before correcting it.

A total of 31 premature babies were evacuated on Sunday from al-Chifa hospital, which the WHO, which participated in the evacuation of the babies to the Emirates hospital in Rafah, had described as a "zone of dead". The Israeli army said it "helped facilitate" the evacuation of the babies from al-Chifa on Sunday.

Taken in Egyptian Red Crescent ambulances equipped with incubators upon their arrival in Egypt on Monday, "16 infants have already arrived at Al-Arich hospital", 45 km west of the border post of Rafah, according to Al-Qahera News.

“There are not enough incubators at Al-Arich hospital and some children will have to be transferred to Ismailia (200 km) or Cairo (300 km),” a medical source said earlier on Sunday. 'AFP.

“All babies suffer from serious infections” and “need medical attention,” the WHO said. “Eleven of them are in critical condition,” she said on Sunday. On Saturday, "two premature babies died before the evacuation took place", according to the WHO.

During their evacuation from Al-Chifa, "none of the infants (evacuated) were accompanied by family members because the Ministry of Health only has limited information and is not able to find their relatives immediately", according to the same source.

The Israeli army, at war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, launched a raid on al-Chifa on Wednesday, claiming that it housed a base of the Palestinian Islamist movement, which the latter denies. The war was sparked by Hamas' unprecedented October 7 attack on Israeli soil, which left around 1,200 people dead, mostly civilians, according to authorities.

In retaliation, he judged to "annihilate" Hamas, since leading a military offensive in the Gaza Strip, which left at least 13,000 dead, including more than 5,500 children, according to the latest report from the Hamas government.

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