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Dhaka Tribune

Baby in Gaza saved from womb of mother killed in Israeli strike

  • Tragic loss of 19 lives, including 13 children, in Israeli strikes in Gaza's Rafah
  • Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,151 people in Gaza, mostly women and children
Update : 22 Apr 2024, 06:14 PM

A baby girl was delivered from the womb of a Palestinian killed along with her husband and daughter by an Israeli attack in the Gaza city of Rafah, where 19 people died overnight in intensified strikes, Palestinian health officials said.

The dead, killed in hits on two houses, included 13 children from one family, they said.

The baby, weighing 1.4kg and delivered in an emergency C-section, was stable and improving gradually, said Mohammed Salama, a doctor caring for her.

Her mother, Sabreen Al-Sakani, had been 30 weeks pregnant.

The baby was placed in an incubator in a Rafah hospital alongside another infant, with the words “The baby of the martyr Sabreen Al-Sakani” written on tape across her chest.

Sakani’s young daughter Malak, who was killed in the strike, had wanted to name her new sister Rouh, meaning spirit in Arabic, said her uncle Rami Al-Sheikh. “The little girl Malak was happy that her sister was coming to the world,” he said.

The baby would stay in hospital for three to four weeks, said Salama, the doctor. “After that we will see about her leaving, and where this child will go, to the family, to the aunt or uncle or grandparents. Here is the biggest tragedy. Even if this child survives, she was born an orphan,” he said.

The 13 children were killed in a strike on the second home, belonging to the Abdel Aal family, according to Palestinian health officials. Two women were also killed in that strike.

Asked about the casualties in Rafah, an Israeli military spokesperson said various targets were struck in Gaza including military compounds, launch posts and armed people.

“Did you see one man in all of those killed?” said Saqr Abdel Aal, a Palestinian man whose family were among the dead, grieving over the body of a child in a white shroud.

“All are women and children,” he said. “My entire identity has been wiped out, with my wife, children and everyone.”

Mohammad al-Behairi said his daughter and grandchild were still under the rubble. “It’s a feeling of sadness, depression, we have nothing left in this life to cry for, what feeling shall we have? When you lose your children, when you lose the closest of your loved ones, how will your feeling be?” he said.

‘We are trapped’

Over half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have crowded into Rafah, seeking shelter from the Israeli offensive that has laid waste to much of the Gaza Strip over the last six months.

Israel is threatening a ground offensive into the area, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said fighters from Hamas must be eliminated to ensure Israel’s victory in the war.

President Joe Biden has urged Israel not to launch a large-scale offensive in Rafah to avoid more Palestinian civilian casualties.

Palestinian health authorities say more than 34,000 people have been killed in Israel’s assault, which began after Hamas’s resistance campaign against Israel on October 7.

The Palestinian health ministry said on Sunday that Israeli military strikes killed 48 Palestinians and wounded 79 others across the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours.

The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said teams recovered 60 bodies from the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern of the enclave, weeks after Israeli army forces retreated from the medical complex. That raised to 210 the number of bodies it had dug out from the hospital yards since April 12.

The service said in a statement there were still around 2,000 missing persons under the rubble in Khan Younis and 1,000 in the central areas of the Gaza Strip, whose bodies could not be extracted because of a lack of heavy equipment and machinery for rubble removal.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

In the larger of the two Palestinian territories, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Israel said its soldiers opened fire at three Palestinians who attacked them and the Palestinian health ministry said all three had died. Violence has flared in the West Bank in recent days.

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