Emergency Exodus: Gaza Infants Evacuated to Egypt Amid Reports of Devastating Hospital Strike by Hamas

Emergency Exodus: Gaza Infants Evacuated to Egypt Amid Reports of Devastating Hospital Strike by Hamas

In a distressing development, 28 premature babies were urgently evacuated from war-ravaged Gaza to Egypt on Monday (Nov 20). The Hamas-run health ministry accused Israel of a deadly strike on Gaza's Indonesian Hospital, situated in the territory's north, which has left entire city blocks in ruins. The strike, claimed to be carried out by Israel's army, resulted in at least 12 casualties, including patients, according to Mr. Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the health ministry.

Hamas authorities have reported a total death toll of over 13,300, predominantly civilians, in the ongoing seven-week Israel-Hamas war. The Indonesian Hospital has become a focal point, with about 100 patients evacuated so far in coordination with the Red Cross, and efforts ongoing to move hundreds more to hospitals in southern Gaza. Israel has not yet provided a comment.

The conflict persists, with the Israeli military continuing its relentless air and ground campaign to dismantle Hamas in response to the Oct 7 attacks that breached Gaza's militarized border. United Nations chief Antonio Guterres expressed deep concern, stating, "We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I am Secretary-General."

More than 2.4 million Palestinians are trapped in Gaza, and only a limited number of war-wounded, foreign nationals, and dual passport holders have been allowed to leave. On Monday, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported the evacuation of 28 premature babies from Gaza's largest hospital, Al Shifa, to safety in Egypt through the Rafah crossing. The WHO noted that all babies are grappling with serious infections and require ongoing healthcare. The Israeli army stated it had "helped facilitate" the transfer.

In a poignant demonstration in Tel Aviv, families of Israeli children held hostage by Hamas gathered outside the UN children's fund, urging it to advocate for the release of their loved ones. The situation remains dire, with the conflict taking an immeasurable toll on civilian lives and infrastructure.

In a heartfelt plea, Ms. Yoni Asher, whose daughters Raz and Aviv are among the captives, urged UNICEF to take a public stand regarding Israeli children caught in the conflict. She emphasized the need for acknowledgment, stating, "like you refer specifically to babies on the other side."

The demonstration advocating for the release of hostages faced a chilling interruption as air raid sirens, warning of incoming Hamas rockets, sent some scrambling for shelter while others sought refuge on the ground. On the diplomatic front, President Joe Biden expressed optimism, stating that he believes a deal to free hostages in Gaza is close during a White House ceremony.

The Red Cross reported that its president traveled to Qatar to meet with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, engaging in talks related to the hostages. The conflict has witnessed unprecedented actions, including Israeli troops raiding and evacuating Al Shifa hospital. Israel, with backing from the United States, asserts that Hamas has utilized extensive tunnel networks beneath Al-Shifa for military purposes.

While Israel has presented recovered weapons and footage allegedly showing hostages being brought into the facility, Hamas and medical staff deny the existence of a command center beneath the hospital. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has deepened, with heavy fighting impacting medical facilities, including a Gaza City clinic run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The MSF reported that its clinic came under fire during intense fighting, placing 21 people inside "in extreme danger."

Concerns mount over the dire situation in Gaza, compounded by cold autumn rain exacerbating the misery for families living in tents and transforming dust into mud. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned of the potential spread of sickness, with registered cases of diarrhoea reaching 44,000 and 70,000 acute respiratory infections in shelters. As most of Gaza's hospitals are no longer operational, the territory received its first field hospital since the war began, with a 41-bed capacity provided by Jordan.

Despite Israel advising Palestinians to move from north Gaza for safety, deadly air strikes persist in central and southern areas, leaving families navigating cracked roads amid the sounds of gunshots and explosions. A tearful woman, Ms. Renad al-Helou, described the scene as "like the apocalypse." The humanitarian crisis deepens as both

In a heartbreaking testimony, a resident of Gaza expressed the profound exhaustion and despair that has enveloped the region, stating, "We are tired. There's no water, no food... There's nothing left in Gaza. There's only destruction, suffering, and torture."

A senior Israeli military official disclosed on Monday that targeting Hamas's firepower necessitates a military presence in the south. The Gaza war has ignited concerns of a broader conflict in the Middle East, where Israel has long grappled with Iran and its allies. Hezbollah, aligned with Hamas, claimed to have targeted Israeli troops in northern Israel with drones, artillery, and missiles on Monday, prompting Israeli retaliation against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon.

Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels reported seizing a cargo ship in the Red Sea with links to an Israeli businessman. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office accused Iran of guiding the Yemenite Huthi militia in hijacking the vessel, an accusation Iran rejected.

Against this backdrop, Jordan's King Abdullah II, during a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, urgently called for a ceasefire in Gaza and an "end to the siege." The King highlighted the catastrophic impact of the ongoing conflict on innocent civilians and expressed concern about rising settler violence in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has resisted calls for a ceasefire until all hostages held by Hamas are released. South Africa, a longstanding supporter of the Palestinian cause, is set to host a virtual summit of the BRICS group of nations on Tuesday to discuss the Israel-Hamas war. In response, Israel's foreign ministry has recalled its ambassador to Pretoria.

In the midst of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the poignant testimony from a Gaza resident encapsulates the profound desperation and suffering experienced by the people in the region. The senior Israeli military official's acknowledgment that targeting Hamas's firepower requires a presence in the south adds a strategic dimension to the complex situation.

The escalation of hostilities has triggered broader concerns across the Middle East, with Hezbollah claiming attacks on Israeli troops and Yemen's Huthi rebels seizing a cargo ship, further amplifying regional tensions. Against this backdrop, Jordan's King Abdullah II passionately called for a ceasefire in Gaza, emphasizing the catastrophic impact on innocent civilians and expressing alarm over rising settler violence in the occupied West Bank.

Israel's steadfast refusal to consider a ceasefire until all hostages are released by Hamas underscores the challenging diplomatic landscape. The virtual summit of the BRICS group of nations hosted by South Africa to discuss the Israel-Hamas war adds another layer to the international response, leading to Israel recalling its ambassador to Pretoria.

As the situation continues to unfold, the region remains entrenched in a complex web of geopolitical dynamics, humanitarian crises, and diplomatic challenges, amplifying the urgency for a concerted international effort to bring about a lasting and meaningful resolution.