Gaza hospital official rejects Israel tunnel claim as deaths top 13,000

Israel has continued its deadly strikes on Gaza, targeting several areas in the enclave, including the vicinity of the Indonesian Hospital. Meanwhile, Gaza health ministry Director Mounir el-Boursh has dismissed Israel’s claim that it had found a Hamas tunnel at the al-Shifa Hospital, describing it as a “pure lie”. Palestinian medics evacuated 31 premature babies from Gaza City’s war-torn Al-Shifa hospital Sunday in a high-risk operation, the UN said, pledging to also move patients and staff who remain there as the death toll in Gaza Strip crossed 13,000 mark. The hospital, Gaza’s largest, has been described by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) as a “death zone”, after it sent a team to visit the facility on Saturday. Mohammed Zaqut, director general of hospitals in Gaza, told reporters “all 31 premature babies in Al-Shifa hospital have been evacuated” and said “preparations are under way” for them to enter Egypt. The infants were taken in Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulances to a hospital in southern Gaza for assessment and treatment, the WHO said in a statement, with 11 in critical condition. Doctors found that “all the babies are fighting serious infections due to lack of medical supplies and impossibility to continue infection control measures in Al-Shifa Hospital”, it said. None were accompanied by family members as the health ministry in Gaza had been unable to locate them, it added, and two babies had died at Al-Shifa while awaiting the transfer. Al-Shifa hospital has become a focal point for Israeli operations, with the army claiming Hamas uses it as a base. Hamas, and medical staff, have denied the accusations. The Hamas authorities say Israel’s relentless military campaign has killed at least 13,000 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians and more than 5,500 of them children.