Israeli forces say they have agreed to evacuate babies from Gaza’s largest hospital as fighting continues
Thousands of medics, patients and displaced people are trapped in Gaza’s biggest hospital with no electricity and dwindling supplies, health officials have said.
Israeli strikes pounded Gaza City overnight as ground forces battled Hamas militants near the Al-Shifa hospital.
The hospital’s last generator ran out of fuel on Saturday, leading to the deaths of three premature babies and four other patients, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
It says another 36 babies are at risk of dying because there’s no electricity.
Israel’s military said there was a safe corridor for civilians to evacuate from Shifa to southern Gaza and that troops would assist in moving babies on Sunday.
Israel, without providing evidence, has accused Hamas of operating from tunnels underneath the Al-Shifa hospital, but staff and Hamas have denied this claim.
Israeli troops and Hamas gunmen battled Saturday outside Gaza’s largest hospital where frantic doctors said the last generator had run out of fuel
The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said another Gaza City hospital, Al-Quds, had shut down after running out of fuel. The site is “no longer operational” the group said.
Gaza’s sole power plant was forced to shut down a month ago, and Israel has barred any fuel imports, saying Hamas would use them for military purposes.
A spokesperson for the Red Crescent said 6,000 people, including displaced families, patients, and medical staff, remained trapped in the hospital.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected growing international calls for a ceasefire.
The Israeli PM said a ceasefire would only be possible if all of the hostages, believed to be around 240, taken by Hamas during the October 7 attacks were released. The attacks killed at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Israel.
Since then more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza. At least 5,000 children are estimated to have been killed, with more than 4,000 reported dead and around 1,400 missing.
The World Health Organisation has said it lost communication with its contacts at Al-Shifa.
The group said it had “grave concerns for the safety of the health workers, hundreds of sick and injured patients, including babies on life support and displaced people who remain inside the hospital.”
Israel’s military confirmed clashes outside the hospital, but Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, a spokesman, denied Al-Shifa was under siege.
He said troops will assist Sunday in moving babies treated there and said “we are speaking directly and regularly” with hospital staff.
Netanyahu said the responsibility for any harm to civilians lies with Hamas, and that while Israel has urged civilians to leave combat zones, “Hamas is doing everything it can to prevent them from leaving.”
In the UK, around 300,000 people joined a march London calling for a ceasefire – the biggest demonstration in the capital since the war began.
Israel has come under mounting international pressure, even from its closest ally, the United States, as the war enters a sixth week.
A 57-nation gathering of Muslim and Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia on Saturday called for the war to end.
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