‘Child killed every 10 minutes in Gaza’: Pressure builds for ceasefire

Two premature babies are thought to have died after the final generator at the huge Shifa hospital, in Gaza City, ran out of fuel.

It caused incubators to shut down, and has put the lives of more than 30 other babies at risk.

The Physicians for Human Rights – Israel group said: “The des­­truction and killing have reached an unfathomable scale.”

It highlighted the lack of electricity, water and oxygen at Shifa, ­adding: “This is no longer a humanitarian catastrophe – it is a collective death sentence.”

Israel denied targeting Shifa but acknowledged fighting is happening “around” it. It claimed the hospital is Hamas’s main command post, saying militants are using civilians as human shields and had set up elaborate bunkers beneath it, which Hamas and Shifa staff deny.

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In recent days, fighting near the hospital has intensified and supplies have run out. Its director, Moh­­ammed Abu Selmia, said: “There is no electricity. Medical devices stopped. Patients, especially those in intensive care, started to die.”

Health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra added: “The situation is worse than anyone can imagine. We are besieged inside Shifa.”

World Health Organisation Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Gheb­­reyesus, last night claimed that a child is being killed every 10 minutes in the Gaza Strip, adding: “Nowhere and no one is safe.”

He said that half of Gaza’s 36 hospitals and two-thirds of its primary healthcare centres are not functioning and those that are operating are way beyond their capacities, describing the healthcare ­system as being “on its knees”.

Since entering Gaza, Israel Defence Forces say they have continued to uncover evidence of Hamas using human shields.

These have included a weapons factory found next to a girl’s bedroom in an apartment which was next door to a kindergarten, underground military outposts next to medical clinics, and a Hamas Intelligence HQ next to a school.

An IDF spokesman said: “Hamas, whose utter disrespect of international law was evident on October 7, continues to violate the law by embedding itself and its military assets within the Gazan population, and within civilian and humanitarian structures. Hamas has turned hospitals into fortified positions.”

He said IDF troops are “engaged in intense battles in the northern part of the Strip”. Four-hour pauses in fighting in that area have been instituted to allow civilians to flee hostilities. On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron joined Arab states in calling for an immediate ceasefire, and said he hoped the US and Britain would follow suit. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the idea.

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia and Muslim countries went beyond ceasefire calls and demanded an immediate end to Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

At the summit in Riyadh, they declared that Israel is responsible for “crimes” against Palestinians.

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Dozens of leaders including Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad attended the meeting.

Hamas had called on them to take “a historic and decisive decision and move to stop the Zionist aggression immediately”.

It also wanted pressure put on the US, which the terrorists claim “bears direct responsibility in the genocidal war in Gaza”.

Iran’s leader is said to be leading calls for Muslim countries to ban Israel from using their airspace and prevent the US shipping weapons.

But calls to sever diplomatic ties with Israel were rejected by many Arab nations, which have recently established diplomatic relations.

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