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GAZA/JERUSALEM, November 20 (Reuters) – A group of 28 babies born prematurely People evacuated from Gaza’s largest hospital were taken to Egypt for emergency treatment on Monday, while Palestinian health authorities said people were killed at another Gaza hospital surrounded by Israeli tanks.
The newborns were at Al Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, where several others died after their incubators were knocked out of service during the collapse of medical services during the Israeli military assault on the city from Gaza.
Israeli forces seized Al Shifa last week to search what they say is a Hamas tunnel network built underneath. Hundreds of patients, medical staff and displaced people left Al Shifa over the weekend, with doctors saying they were expelled by troops and Israel saying the departures were voluntary.
Live footage broadcast by Egypt’s Al Qahera TV showed medical staff carefully removing tiny infants from inside an ambulance and placing them in mobile incubators, which were then transported across a parking lot to other ambulances.
The babies were taken to a hospital in Rafah, on the southern border of Hamas-ruled Gaza, on Sunday so their condition could be stabilized before being transferred to Egypt.
All of the evacuated babies were “battling serious infections,” a World Health Organization spokesperson said.
Eight infants have died since doctors at Al Shifa initially issued an international alert this month over 39 premature babies at risk from a lack of infection control, clean water and medicines in the neonatal ward.
12 DEAD IN HOSPITAL SURROUNDED BY ISRAELI TANKS
At another Indonesian-funded hospital, Gaza’s health ministry said at least 12 Palestinians were killed and dozens injured by gunfire at the compound surrounded by Israeli tanks.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the situation at the hospital where health officials said 700 patients as well as staff were under Israeli fire.
The Palestinian news agency WAFA said the facilities in Beit Lahia in northeastern Gaza were hit by artillery fire. Palestinian health officials said frantic efforts were being made to evacuate civilians out of danger.
Hospital staff denied the presence of armed militants at the scene. Israel says its forces in Gaza are attacking “terrorist infrastructure” and accuses Hamas of waging war behind human shields, including in hospitals. The Islamist group denies it.
“We had information earlier that tanks were besieging the Indonesian hospital. Unfortunately… communications are almost cut there,” Nahed Abu Taaema, director of Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, told Reuters.
“We are very concerned about the fate of our colleagues and the fate of the injured and patients as well as the (displaced) people who could still (have) found refuge there. No ambulance can reach them and we fear that the injured will die.”
Indonesia condemned what it called Israel’s “attack” on the hospital established with Indonesian funding in 2016, saying it clearly violated international humanitarian law, and urged countries close to Israel to bring it to an end to the violence.
Like all other health facilities in the northern half of Gaza, the Indonesian hospital has largely ceased its activities but it continues to house displaced patients, staff and residents.
Israel has ordered a complete evacuation of the north, but thousands of civilians remain, many of them housed in hospitals. Food, fuel, medicine and drinking water are running out in the enclave besieged by Israel for six weeks.
In the south, where hundreds of thousands of Gazans who fled the north of the enclave are taking refuge, at least 14 Palestinians were killed in two Israeli strikes on houses in Rafah, according to Gaza health authorities. There was no immediate Israeli comment on the incident.
OLD FIGHTS AROUND A LARGE REFUGEE CAMP
Witnesses also reported heavy fighting between Hamas gunmen and Israeli forces trying to advance in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, home to 100,000 people and, according to Israel, a militant stronghold important.
Repeated Israeli bombardments on Jabalia, an urban extension of Gaza City that grew out of a Palestinian refugee camp from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, have killed many civilians, according to Palestinian doctors.
The Israeli military released a statement with video of airstrikes and troops going house to house in Gaza, claiming to have killed three Hamas company commanders and a squad of Palestinian fighters, without giving specific locations.
Despite continued fighting, U.S. and Israeli officials said a Agreement negotiated by Qatar The release of some of the hostages held in the Palestinian enclave and the temporary suspension of fighting to allow the delivery of aid to affected civilians are getting closer.
Around 240 hostages were taken during a deadly cross-border rampage in Israel by Hamas militants on October 7, prompting Israel to invade the crowded Palestinian territory to eliminate the Islamist group after several inconclusive wars since 2007.
About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the Hamas attack, according to Israeli figures, the deadliest day in Israel’s 75-year history.
Since then, the Hamas government in Gaza has said that at least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 5,500 children, by relentless Israeli bombardment.
The United Nations says two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are homeless.
On Sunday, another 20,000 Gazans, including a growing number of unaccompanied children, traveled from north to south, mainly by donkey cart, bus or on foot, and some 900,000 displaced people are now in shelters. UN, said the United Nations Humanitarian Office (OCHA). in an update Monday.
Thousands of other displaced people were sleeping against the walls of shelters in the south, in the open, with on average one shower for 700 people and one toilet for 150 people, OCHA said.
Israeli forces seized large areas to the north, northwest and east around Gaza City, according to the Israeli military.
But Hamas and local witnesses say the militants are waging a guerrilla-style war in the mazes of the congested and urbanized north, including parts of Gaza City and the sprawling refugee camps of Jabalia and Beach.
Additional reporting by Clauda Tanios in Dubai, Emma Farge in Geneva and at Reuters offices Written by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Mark Heinrich Editing by Peter Graff, William Maclean
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