Nearly 180 people were buried in a mass grave inside Gaza’s largest hospital last week, as the crisis over the fate of its patients and 36 neo-natal babies deepened.
What is the biggest hospital in Gaza?
Israel Defence Forces, which has surrounded Dar al-Shifa hospital, said it was ‘sending incubators’ in coordination with the Red Cross to have the babies moved, but doctors insisted what they needed was fuel to run generators.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry insisted no plan was in place to evacuate babies from Al Shifa despite the Israeli offer.
The IDF says the complex in Gaza City sits above a Hamas terrorist headquarters. But due to health risks from decomposing bodies, 179 corpses were buried in the grounds.
Hamas denies its fighters are present and says 650 patients and between 5,000-7,000 displaced civilians are trapped inside the hospital grounds, under constant fire from snipers and drones.
Babies are dying
It said 40 patients have died in recent days, including three premature babies whose incubators could not run.
The fate of Al Shifa has become a focus of international alarm, including from Israel’s closest ally, the United States.
Without fuel for generators to power incubators, the infants were being kept warm as best as possible, lined up eight to a bed.
What Israel plans to do
Israel announced it was offering portable, battery-powered incubators so the babies could be moved.
But Ashraf Al-Qidra, Gaza’s health ministry spokesman, said no arrangements had been established to carry out any such evacuation.
‘We have no objection to the babies being moved to any hospital, in Egypt, the West Bank or even to the occupation (Israeli) hospitals,’ he said.
‘The occupation is still besieging the hospital and they are firing into the yards.’