Thirty-one premature babies were safely transferred from Gaza’s main hospital to another in the south on Sunday, and will be moved to Egypt, health officials said, as scores of other critically wounded patients remained stranded there days after Israeli forces entered the compound.
The fate of the newborns at 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, and food, water and medical supplies ran out as Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants outside the hospital.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on social media that the “very sick” babies were evacuated, along with six health workers and 10 staff family members. He said they were taken to a hospital in the southern Gaza city of Rafah where they are receiving urgent care.
A WHO team that visited the hospital on Saturday said 291 patients were still there, including the babies, trauma patients with severely infected wounds, and others with spinal injuries who are unable to move.
About 2,500 displaced people, mobile patients and medical staff left Shifa Hospital on Saturday morning, the WHO said. It said 25 medical staff remained, along with the patients.
“Patients and health staff with whom they spoke were terrified for their safety and health, and pleaded for evacuation,” the agency said, describing Shifa as a death zone.