Twenty-nine premature babies were on Monday, evacuated from Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza to Egypt.
The hospital has been a focal point in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, with the World Health Organization (WHO) deeming it a “death zone” due to Israel’s efforts to uncover alleged Hamas bases in tunnels beneath the facility.
The evacuation took place on Sunday, with the babies crossing into Egypt through the Rafah crossing, the sole entry and exit point to the Palestinian territory not controlled by Israel. Initially, 31 babies were reportedly evacuated to another Gaza clinic, but only 29 arrived in Egypt for reasons that remain unclear.
According to reports from Al-Qahera News, the babies transported to Egypt were accommodated in incubators.
However, a medical source told AFP not all the infants would be able to be treated at El-Arish hospital 45 kilometres (28 miles) west of the Gaza Strip.
“There are not enough incubators at El-Arish hospital, and some babies will have to be transferred to Ismailia or Cairo,” the source said.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday that 31 “very sick” babies were moved in a joint operation with the UN and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
Doctors found that “all the babies are fighting serious infections due to lack of medical supplies and impossibility to continue infection control measures in Al-Shifa Hospital,” the Red Crescent said.
Family members had accompanied none of the babies during the initial evacuation, the WHO said, as the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza was unable to locate them.