Palestinian Baby Delivered After Mother Killed in Israeli Strike

Doctors in Gaza delivered a baby on Sunday from the womb of a Palestinian woman who had been killed alongside her husband and daughter in an Israeli strike in the city of Rafah, where more than one million people have fled during Israel’s war in Gaza.

The birth of the child was captured on video by a journalist from the Reuters news agency, who filmed doctors providing artificial respiration to her after she emerged pale, limp and seemingly lifeless from her mother, Sabreen al-Sakani.

“Here is the biggest tragedy: Even if this child survives she was born an orphan,” Dr. Mohammed Salama, the head of the neonatal intensive care unit at Al-Emirati Hospital in Rafah told Reuters.

The baby was born 10 weeks premature and weighed three pounds, Dr. Salama told Reuters. Her mother was already dead when she was born, he said. Instead of a name, doctors wrote “the baby of the martyr Sabreen al-Sakani” on a piece of tape across her chest.

Rami al-Sheikh, the baby’s uncle, told a video journalist from Reuters that her older sister, Malak, had wanted to name her Rouh, the Arabic word for soul. Malak also died in the strike.

He said the family was “ordinary civilians.”

“My brother is a barber and used to work with me in the shop,” Mr. al-Sheikh said about the baby’s father. “They were happy people, and the little girl Malak was happy that her sister was coming into the world.”

The baby was in a perilous state after her birth, but now, aside from some respiratory problems, her condition is stable, Dr. Salama said. She will spend three to four weeks in the hospital, and then doctors will figure out whom to send the baby home with.

“Hopefully after her respiratory distress improves, she will need to be breastfed,” Dr. Salama said. “She has been denied everything — denied her mother, denied her milk. Some substitutions can be made, but nothing will ever replace her mother.”

Back to top button