Dozens of premature and sick babies arrived safely in Egypt on Monday after they were evacuated from Gaza’s war-torn al-Shifa hospital.
Egyptian officials confirmed that 28 babies were receiving treatment in the country, while the four mothers and six nurses who accompanied them across the border were being treated at different hospitals.
31 vulnerable babies had to be evacuated from al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, over the weekend after the hospital ran out of power and resources following a raid on the complex by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).
While they were still in al-Shifa, medics desperately tried to keep the infants alive by lining them alongside each other across hospital beds after their incubators ran out of power.
Several reportedly perished before they could safely be taken out of the hospital.
Of the 31 who were evacuated, three babies remained in another Gazan hospital while the rest were taken in a convoy of ambulances to the Rafah crossing into Egypt. It remains unclear if the infants left behind will join the others.
One of the mothers who arrived with her daughter in Egypt on Monday told Egyptian state media that it was “the best place on earth to be”.
Lubna El-Seik said that after a difficult birth, her daughter was born on 28 September.
“On the seventh of October, I was supposed to go and see my daughter. She was reliant on artificial respiration. Then they asked us to leave our house, then they bombed our house. So I went to Al Shifa Hospital. It never occurred to us that the hospital would be targeted and that those children would have to go through what they went through,” she said.
On Sunday, the UN described al-Shifa as a “death zone”.
When the war broke out in October, the hospital was treating upwards of 1,500 sick and wounded patients and sheltering over 20,000 people fleeing from Israeli air raids.
However, after the IDF ordered an evacuation of the hospital at the weekend, just 291 seriously ill patients remain alongside 25 medics who are caring for them.
About 2,500 people, many of whom were sick and injured, marched out of the hospital on Sunday towards southern Gaza.
Israeli forces first surrounded the hospital after claiming that Hamas was using it as a military headquarters. The IDF released footage on Monday which they claimed was of two hostages taken on 7 October being led into the hospital. They also published photos of a tunnel under the hospital which they say was being used by Hamas militants.
Pictured above: The ambulances which carried 28 premature and sick babies from Gaza to Egypt.
Image source: X