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Intense fighting around Gaza hospitals

Arab foreign ministers in China press end to war
A displaced Palestinian woman sits with children in a tent camp in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on Monday. - Reuters
A displaced Palestinian woman sits with children in a tent camp in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on Monday. - Reuters
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GAZA: There was intense fighting reported around hospitals in the Gaza Strip on Monday as more than two dozen premature babies were transferred across the border for treatment in Egypt.


The Palestinian Red Crescent said ambulances departed on Monday from Gaza's Emirati Hospital carrying 28 babies to Egypt's Rafah crossing.


Footage on Egypt's Al Qahera News showed each baby transferred into an incubator and then into an Egyptian ambulance. The babies were taken to hospitals in Cairo and North Sinai.


On Sunday, the premature babies were taken from the besieged Al Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza to the Emirati Hospital in the southern part of the enclave. Two babies died before the evacuation got under way.


The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that doctors in Gaza said all the babies are fighting serious infections due to lack of medical supplies, and several are in critical condition.


None of the infants were accompanied by relatives as close family members could not be found, the WHO said, citing Palestinian medical officials.


After six weeks of war, Gaza's remaining hospitals are collapsing due to a shortage of supplies while being overwhelmed by huge numbers of injured.


Meanwhile, a delegation of Arab and Muslim foreign ministers demanded on Monday an immediate de-escalation of the war in Gaza during a trip to China, their first stop on a tour of capitals.


The delegation, which met top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi, includes ministers from the the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Indonesia. They will remain in Beijing until Tuesday.


The group said it will then travel on to other countries to press their case, but the next stop was not immediately clear. Wang said China has always stood up for the rights and interests of Arab and Muslim countries.


A Palestinian girl reacts following an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday. - AFP
A Palestinian girl reacts following an Israeli strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday. - AFP


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Beijing was ready to work closely to bring about an end to the six-week war.


Beijing has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and continues to advocate for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


An Israeli siege on Gaza has heavily restricted access to food, water and electricity. Fuel to run backup generators for hospitals is in extremely short supply. The first fuel truck since the war started began to enter late last week, but supplies remain scarce. Fighting is also raging around some of the hospitals.


At least 70 people have died at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip following a nearby Israeli airstrike, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said.


Dozens of patients, including children and adolescents, had to be treated for "severe burns" at the Nasser medical complex, the organisation said late Sunday, citing its staff at the hospital.


The strike in the city of Khan Younis took place 1 km away from the hospital, the group said. A total of 122 patients arrived at the hospital in the immediate aftermath. "The hospital is overflowing," MSF said.


The Health Ministry said on Monday that 12 people were killed in Israeli shelling of the Indonesian Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. Several patients and their companions were among the dead, the ministry's spokesman, Ashraf al Qudra, said, adding that dozens more were injured. SEE ALSO P6 & 7


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