- “The health sector in Gaza has been completely destroyed,” a health official told CBC News.
- Israel claims it has evidence that Hamas has a headquarters under al-Shifa hospital.
- Israel, the US and Qatar are negotiating to free Hamas hostages.
Health officials said on Sunday that 31 premature babies in an “extremely critical condition” had been safely transferred from the Gaza Strip’s main hospital and were on their way to Egypt, while others had severely infected wounds and other emergency symptoms. More than 250 patients remain stranded for several days after Israeli forces entered the compound. Look for Hamas activities there.
The plight of the infants, along with Israel’s claim to Al Shifa Hospital, has become a powerful symbol of the devastating war between Israel and Hamas. Israeli attacks have caused heavy casualties among Palestinian civilians, while Israel has accused Hamas of using Shifa Hospital and other hospitals as headquarters for military operations.
The newborns at the hospital were receiving emergency treatment in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, after supplies were depleted after a power outage occurred while Israeli forces were fighting outside with Palestinian militants. In some cases, they were suffering from dehydration, hypothermia and sepsis, said Mohamed Zakut, director of Gaza Hospital. Four other infants died in the two days before the evacuation, he said.
A World Health Organization (WHO) team that visited Shifa for an hour on Saturday found hospital corridors filled with medical and solid waste and infected patients who “feared for their safety and health and appealed for evacuation.” He said the risks are increasing. 25 staff remained.
The U.N. agency said the majority of patients had amputations, burns and other trauma, and many wounds were severely infected and antibiotics were not available. The WHO said a mission was planned to evacuate the remaining population to southern Gaza within 24 to 72 hours “until guarantees of safe passage can be obtained.”
“The health sector in Gaza is completely destroyed and weakened,” Marwan Gilani, director-general of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, told CBC. rosemary burton live on sunday.
Israel claims Hamas’ Al Shifa underground tunnel
Late Sunday, the Israeli military announced it had strong evidence to support its claims that Hamas maintains extensive command posts inside and underground in Shifa. Israel has portrayed the hospital as a key target in its war to end Hamas’s rule in the Gaza Strip, following the extremist group’s widespread attacks on southern Israel six weeks ago.
The military said it had discovered a 55-metre-long tunnel about 10 meters underground on the 20-acre hospital grounds, which includes several buildings, garages and a plaza. The tunnel contained stairs, a blast door and a firing port that could be used by snipers.
CBC News has not been able to independently verify the IDF’s findings.
The military also announced that an independent medical report determined that the Israeli female soldier, a corporal, had died. Noah Marciano, whose body was found in Gaza last week, had been murdered by Hamas in a hospital. According to Israeli intelligence assessments, Ms. Marciano was wounded in the Israeli attack on November 9, and her captor was killed. Her injuries were not life-threatening, but she was later killed by Hamas militants in Shifa, the military said.
Hamas and hospital officials have previously denied allegations that there was a command post under Shifa’s government. Critics have described the hospital as a symbol of Israel’s reckless endangerment of civilians. Thousands of people have been killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza, and the besieged area is facing severe shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel.
Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, denied the Israeli military’s announcement and did not deny that there are hundreds of kilometers of tunnels in Gaza. But he said: “The Israelis say they have a command and control center, which means the problem is more serious than just a tunnel.”
Israel says the October 7 attack killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and Hamas has taken about 240 prisoners back to Gaza.
Hamas released four hostages, Israel rescued one, and two bodies were found near Shifa.
Persian Gulf state Qatar, mediating with Israel, the United States and Hamas, has been negotiating for the release of the hostages for several weeks.
“We hope to be able to free a significant number of hostages within the next few days,” Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog told ABC. this week. He added: “We are talking about pausing the fighting for a few days to rescue the hostages.”
“To be honest, the challenge at this stage is more practical and logistical,” Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said three wartime ministers would meet with representatives of the hostages’ families on Monday night.
Rafah intersection reopens
Meanwhile, a new Canadian-linked group desperately trying to escape escalating violence in the Gaza Strip was approved to leave the besieged area as of Sunday.
There are currently 135 Canadian names on the list of foreign passport holders allowed to enter Egypt via the Rafah land route. This list is updated daily by the Gaza Cross-Border and Frontier Directorate.
In a notice shared on the authorities’ Facebook page, those with travel permits are asked to arrive at the border by 7 a.m. local time.
According to an update from Global Affairs Canada provided Friday, 376 Canadians, permanent residents and their relatives were able to leave the Palestinian territories through the Rafah border.