However, ambulances were unable to safely reach al-Nasr to transport the injured, and doctors refused to leave the facility without patients.
Five premature babies were particularly vulnerable. They needed oxygen and also needed medication given regularly. There were no portable ventilators or incubators to transport them. Without life support, the nurse feared he would not survive the evacuation.
The IDF then issued an ultimatum, al-Nasr representative Bakr Kaoud told The Washington Post. “Get out or you’ll be bombarded.” Meanwhile, Israeli officials assured that an ambulance would be arranged to retrieve the patient.
The Palestinian nurse, who works for Paris-based Médecins Sans Frontières, had no other choice. He assessed his charges and chose the strongest one, the baby he thought would be most likely to survive a temporary cut in oxygen supply. He reluctantly left the other four on ventilators and headed south with his wife, children and a baby.
“I felt like I was abandoning my children,” said the nurse, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her privacy. “If we had the ability to catch them, we would. [but] If we had cut off the oxygen, they would have died. ”
Two weeks later, a pause in the fighting allowed Gazan journalists to venture into the hospital. In the neonatal intensive care unit, Mohammed Varosha made a horrifying discovery.
The decomposing bodies of four babies. eaten by insects. It’s darkened with mold. Varosha said she was attacked by a stray dog.
“It’s a horrifying, terrifying scene,” he told the Post. he took a video.
The tragic discovery served as a reminder of the terrible civilian toll of Israel’s war of extermination. Hamas, a campaign that saved neither hospitals nor children. Thousands were killed.
Current hostilities erupted on October 7, when Hamas and allied fighters rushed out of Gaza en masse and attacked Israeli communities near the enclave, killing about 1,200 Israelis and kidnapping another 240. did. Israel responded with a full-scale siege, airstrikes and ground operations that left more than 15,200 Palestinians dead, including thousands of children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
Israel has long accused Hamas of hiding command and control centers inside hospitals. The Biden administration supported this claim. Hamas and Gazan medical staff deny this.
Still, Israeli commanders have made the territory’s medical infrastructure a focus of military operations. A month into the war, Al-Nasr was among them.
According to Kaoud, the hospital director, it was on November 10 that the Israeli military ordered al-Nasr’s staff to leave. “They sent us a map of a safe route,” he told the Post in a WhatsApp message. “They gave us 30 minutes to go out or they would bomb the hospital.”
Officials at the neighboring Al-Rantisi Children’s Cancer Center appear to have been assured that ambulances would transport patients from both Al-Rantisi and Al-Nassr. In a telephone conversation with the Regional Government Activities Coordinator, a division of the Israeli Defense Ministry, al-Rantisi officials requested an ambulance.in Call recording released by the Israel Defense Forces A senior COGAT officer responded in Arabic: “No problem.”
A senior COGAT official told al-Rantisi officials that they would “arrange arrangements” for the ambulance. He shows the exact route medical staff should take out of the facility.
Al-Rantisi officials reminded COGAT that its personnel should also evacuate Al-Nasr. COGAT officials acknowledged the demand.
“Coordination is being made with the Red Cross and the Israeli army that we will go out and then these patients will be evacuated to another safe hospital,” Kuoud said.
COGAT spokeswoman Shani Sasson told the Post that the Israeli military had not instructed al-Nasr personnel to evacuate or conducted any operations inside the facility. She declined to say whether COGAT or the Israeli military had been informed about the baby or whether they had taken any action to care for the baby.
Sarah Davis, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Jerusalem, said the International Committee of the Red Cross had not given any guarantees and could not reach the hospital safely.
The evacuation was painful. The nurse said there was no way to contact the infant’s family. He had no contact information and communications were down in many parts of Gaza. He speculated that their parents were “displaced people” who “knew their children were in the hospital and had no idea that the hospital would be attacked or raided by occupation forces.” I didn’t think so.
“They thought they had left them in a safe place.”
It’s time to leave. The nurse picked up the strongest baby, made sure the other baby’s ventilator was working, and left the hospital with the family in scrubs for the 18-mile journey south to Khan Yunis. started. Most of them were on foot. .
The nurse found an ambulance on the way and took the baby in her arms to Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital. Israeli forces would storm the facility in the coming days. The World Health Organization ultimately evacuated 31 premature babies from Al Shifa. By then, several other people had died.
After nearly seven weeks of fighting, on November 24, Israel and Hamas exchanged prisoners and began a week-long hiatus to allow more aid to Gaza.
Varosha, a journalist with the Dubai-based Al Mashhad Channel, took advantage of the relative calm to venture into Gaza City to report on abandoned bodies. Two bodies, a man and a woman, were found on Nabil Tamos Street. Someone had covered them with a blanket.
“people [were] It told me that the most powerful story was found in Al Nasr Hospital,” Varosha said. “They told me that the premature babies were left in the intensive care unit and should be rescued.” But because of the fighting, “no one took them out.”
During the stoppage, Israeli forces remained near the hospital, cutting off access to civilians. Undaunted, Varosha “jumped from wall to wall” through the damaged buildings to reach the medical complex.
As she approached the neonatal intensive care unit, she “started to notice a strange odor.” He turned on the camera.
At the time of al-Mashhad broadcast the report, blurred ruins. The channel provided the Post with an unaltered copy of the video, which was compared with pre-war images of the facility to prove that the video was recorded inside al-Nasr’s pediatric intensive care unit. It was done.
The body is still connected to a ventilator and bears little resemblance to a corpse. They look like piles of rotting flesh, protruding bones, and hard-to-identify body parts. A dirty looking diaper is left wrapped around the middle.
Varosha explained the incident to the camera and hurried out of the unit.
A nurse who reviewed the video said the body was found where she left the infant. No one came to pick them up.
Al-Nasr’s director, Kuawd, said the Israeli military had been “informed that there were still infected people” in the hospital, but that they were “determined to evacuate.”
Red Cross spokesperson Davis said the organization had received “several requests to evacuate hospitals in northern Gaza, but due to the security situation we are not involved in evacuation operations and our teams are They were not involved in evacuation activities.”
No one has appeared to claim the body. The nurse said there was no indication that the parents knew of their child’s death.
He is still haunted by that incident. He believes he needs psychiatric treatment.
He asked what sin the babies had committed.
“Were they combatants?” he asked. “Did they have weapons? Were they firing rockets?
“Why would the military provide oxygen and electricity? Why did the military target them?”
Heba Farouk Mahfouz contributed to this report from Cairo.