Khan Younis (Gaza Strip), November 19
At least 30 premature babies were evacuated from Gaza’s main hospital on Sunday and shifted to a hospital in Egypt, the territory’s Health Ministry said, as scores of other critically wounded patients remained stranded there days after Israeli forces entered the compound of the medical facility.
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. Food, water and medical supplies also ran out as Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants outside the hospital.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) 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 were unable to move. Medhat Abbas, a spokesman for the ministry, confirmed the evacuation of the babies. There was no immediate comment from the WHO.
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 injured, the aid group said.
About 2,500 displaced people, mobile patients and medical staff left the hospital on Saturday morning, the WHO said. It said 25 medical employees remained, along with the patients.
Elsewhere in northern Gaza, dozens of people were killed on Saturday in the urban Jabaliya refugee camp when what witnesses described as an Israeli airstrike hit a crowded UN shelter. “The scenes were horrifying. Corpses of women and children were on the ground. Others were screaming for help,” Ahmed Radwan, who was among the wounded, said on phone. — AP
No deal reached on hostages: Netanyahu
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has refuted reports of a “deal” with Hamas to secure the release of some 240 hostages. He said “as of now”, no agreement had been reached. His remarks came after the US reportedly said it was working hard to broker a deal to free hostages in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting.
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