A group of 28 prematurely born babies evacuated from Gaza’s biggest hospital were taken into Egypt for urgent treatment on Monday, while Palestinian authorities and the World Health Organization HO said 12 people were killed at another Gaza hospital encircled by Israeli tanks.
The newborns had been in north Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital, where several others died after their incubators were knocked out amid a collapse of medical services during Israel’s military assault on Gaza City.
Israeli forces seized Shifa last week to search for what they said was a Hamas tunnel network built underneath. Hundreds of patients, medical staff and displaced people left Shifa at the weekend, with doctors saying they were ejected by troops and Israel saying the departures were voluntary.
Live footage aired by Egypt’s Al Qahera TV showed medical staff carefully lifting infants from inside an ambulance and placing them in mobile incubators, which were then wheeled across a car park towards other ambulances.
The babies were transported on Sunday to a hospital in Rafah, on the southern border of Hamas-ruled Gaza, so their condition could be stabilized ahead of transfer to Egypt.
All of the evacuated babies were “fighting serious infections”, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson said.
Eight infants have died since doctors at Shifa originally raised an international alarm this month about 39 premature babies at risk from a lack of infection control, clean water and medicines in the neo-natal ward.
At the Indonesian Hospital, funded by Jakarta, Gaza’s health ministry said at least 12 Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded by firing into the complex encircled by Israeli tanks.
Health officials said 700 patients along with staff were under Israeli fire.
The Palestinian news agency WAFA said the facility in the northeast Gaza town of Beit Lahia had been hit by artillery rounds. Hospital staff denied there were any armed militants on the premises.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “appalled” by the attack that he too said had killed 12 people, including patients, citing unspecified reports.
“Health workers and civilians should never have to be exposed to such horror, and especially while inside a hospital,” he said on social media platform X.
Indonesia condemned what it called Israel’s attack on the hospital, set up in 2016, saying it clearly violated international law.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), in response to a question about the hospital, said troops had fired back at fighters in the hospital while taking “numerous measures to minimize harm” to non-combatants.
“Overnight, terrorists opened fire from within the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza toward IDF troops operating outside the hospital,” the IDF told Reuters. “In response, IDF troops directly targeted the specific source of enemy fire. No shells were fired toward the hospital.”
Like all other health facilities in the northern half of Gaza, the Indonesian Hospital has largely ceased operations but is still sheltering patients, staff and displaced residents.
Israel has ordered the total evacuation of the north, but thousands of civilians remain. Food, fuel, medicines and drinking water have been running out across the enclave under Israel’s six-week-old siege.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said its clinic in Gaza City also came under fire on Monday. “Our colleagues saw that a wall was torn down and part of the building was engulfed by fire, as heavy fighting took place all around it. An Israeli tank was seen in the street,” it said on X.
In the south, where hundreds of thousands of Gazans who fled the north of the enclave are sheltering, 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 either incident.
Israeli forces have seized wide areas of the north and northwest and east around Gaza City, the Israeli military says.
But Hamas and witnesses say militants are waging guerrilla-style warfare in the warrens of the congested north, including parts of Gaza City and the Jabalia and Beach refugee camps.