Premature babies at Gaza’s largest hospital are being wrapped in foil and placed next to hot water in a desperate bid to keep them alive, the hospital director warned, as Israeli firepower continues to pound surrounding streets and remaining fuel reserves dry up, leaving the facility unable to function.
Staff at the Al-Shifa hospital were fighting to keep the newborns alive after oxygen supplies ran out and they had to move the babies by hand from the neonatal unit’s incubators to a different part of the hospital.
“I was with them a while ago. They are now exposed, because we have taken them out of the incubators. We wrap them in foil and put hot water next to them so that we can warm them,” the medical center’s director, Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya, told Al-Araby TV on Sunday.
Images show several newborn babies who were taken off incubators at the hospital clustered helplessly together and placed in one bed.
The doctor said several children have died while in the intensive care unit and the nursery during the last day amid Israel’s continued bombardment and blockade of Gaza, an already impoverished and densely packed territory, following the October 7 attack on its territory by Hamas militants.
Some context: Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 11,000 people, according to Palestinian health officials, and a fuel blockade has resulted in a deepening humanitarian crisis as hospitals, water systems, bakeries and other services reliant on electricity shut down.
Ministry spokesman Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra said the complex was “out of service” after repeatedly being targeted by Israeli fire.
An Israeli military spokesperson told CNN its forces were engaged in “ongoing intense fighting” against Hamas in the vicinity of the hospital complex, but denied firing at the northern Gaza medical center and has rejected suggestions the hospital is under siege.
The Israeli military has previously said Hamas is embedding itself in civilian infrastructure and that it will strike Hamas “wherever necessary.” It has also accused Hamas of using hospitals as cover — a charge doctors at Al-Shifa and the militant group deny.
Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians, injured or displaced by Israel’s escalating war against Hamas, have packed its wards, seeking shelter from the seemingly endless barrage of Israeli airstrikes.