Gaza’s largest hospital evacuated 28 premature babies battling life-threatening infections to Egypt on Monday after Israeli forces entered al-Shifa earlier in November, Reuters reported.
Prior to their transfer from Rafah on Sunday, approximately eight infants allegedly died as a result of diminishing supplies, unclean water and power losses to incubators during an Israeli military assault on Gaza City, according to Reuters.
“The initial number was 39 premature babies, and because we were in unsanitary conditions, we lost 8 of them, and 31 remained,” Ashraf Al-Qedrah, spokesman of the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, told The Associated Press Sunday.
Some babies are dehydrated, and developed gastritis, sepsis or hypothermia, according to Middle East Eye.
The World Health Organization (WHO) sent a team to al-Shifa to help transfer the babies to facilities in Egypt, according to JewishNews. Three infants still remain in al-Helal Emirati Maternity Hospital in Rafah, Middle East Eye reported. (RELATED: ‘For Your Own Safety:’ Israel Warns Gaza Residents To Evacuate Ahead Of Sweeping Ground Invasion)
Israeli forces made entrance into al-Shifa last week, conducting a targeted operation against Hamas. Troops searched al-Shifa Hospital “for what they said was a Hamas tunnel network and command centre built underneath the complex,” Al-Jazeera reported. “Hamas has denied the allegations.”
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) announced Sunday that troops discovered a 180-foot-long tunnel over 30 feet beneath al-Shifa Hospital, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
“The tunnel shaft was uncovered in the area of the hospital underneath a shed alongside a vehicle containing numerous weapons including RPGs, explosives, and Kalashnikov rifles,” the IDF told The Jewish Chronicle in a statement.