31 premature babies in incubators evacuated from Gaza to Rafah border for treatment Israel claims Al-Shifa hospital used to hold hostages

Monday 20 November 2023

Some 31 premature babies in incubators have been moved from Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital have been moved to a neonatal ward in Rafah on the Egyptian border.

A joint operation by the UN and the Palestinian Red Crescent moved 31 babies in incubators.

Health officials reported that some infants have died due to a lack of electricity and medicine in the hospital that was caught in the crossfire between Israel and Hamas.

Major Libby Weiss, spokeswoman for the Israeli Defence Forces, said they were determined to ensure the babies were moved.

Speaking to TalkTV from Tel Aviv, she said: "The goal here was to evacuate civilians, as you can see the babies were evacuated.

"This is something that takes time and co-ordination, but we were committed to doing that and to making sure they were evacuated. That's what we've been doing since the start of this - encouraging civilians to evacuate from the northern part of the Gaza Strip and from Al-Shifa hospital specifically."

Dr Mohammed Zaqout, director general of hospitals in the Palestinian Health Ministry, said some of the 31 newborns had been fed with formula mixed with contaminated water, and had dangerously low body temperatures.

Premature babies were evacuated from Al Shifa hospital to the Emirates hospital in Rafah

Premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit were removed from the incubators

A premature baby being fed after being transferred from Al-Shifa Hospital

Israel has accused Hamas militants of using Al-Shifa hospital as a military base, and has released a video it claims shows the hospital was used to hold Israeli hostages.

An army spokesperson said the video shows at least two hostages taken from Israel brought into the hospital after the October 7 rampage.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said: "The world must remember, Hamas is holding the elderly, men, women, children, babies hostage.

"The Israel Defence Forces has a moral obligation to bring everyone, everyone of our hostages home. We will not rest until we do.

"Hamas was hiding and murdering our hostage in Shifa Hospital, Hamas was building terror tunnels underneath Shifa Hospital. By now, the truth is clear, Hamas wages war from hospitals, wages terror from hospitals."

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander in Afghanistan, told TalkTV: "Hamas have a long-standing record of using hospitals to carry out combat operations.

"We've heard from journalists over the years how sometimes if you want to meet a Hamas commander, you go to meet him in the grounds of the Al-Shifa hospital, which is where he's hidden out.

"I don't see this as something that is surprising at all, and personally I would believe the evidence of the IDF and of Israeli-based journalists."