GAZA: A top health official in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said all 31 premature babies at Al-Shifa hospital had been evacuated today from the facility which the World Health Organization has described as a “death zone”.
Mohammed Zaqut, director-general of hospitals in Gaza, told AFP “all 31 premature babies in Al-Shifa hospital…have been evacuated” along with three doctors and two nurses.
“Preparations are underway” for them to enter Egypt, he added.
The move came a day after hundreds fled the hospital, Gaza’s largest, after Al-Shifa’s director said that Israel’s army had ordered it to be evacuated.
Israel denied ordering the move.
An AFP journalist at the scene saw crowds of sick, injured, and displaced people walking towards the seafront, with the health ministry saying 120 patients had stayed behind, among them a number of premature babies.
“Many patients can not leave the hospital as they are in the ICU beds or the baby incubators,” Ahmed al-Mokhallalati, a doctor at the hospital, wrote yesterday on X, formerly known as Twitter.
In a statement earlier today, the WHO said it had visited Al-Shifa on a “very high-risk mission” yesterday.
It described the facility as a “death zone” and said it was “urgently developing plans for the immediate evacuation of the remaining patients, staff, and their families”.
It said 291 patients and 25 health workers were still inside the hospital in figures issued several hours before the babies were evacuated.