Gaza baby saved from dead mother's womb dies

RAFAH, Gaza: A baby girl who was delivered from her dying mother's womb in a Gaza hospital following an Israeli airstrike has herself died after just a few days of life, the doctor who was caring for her said on Friday.

The baby had been named Rouh, meaning Soul.

Her mother, Sabreen Al-Sakani, was seriously injured when the Israeli strike hit the family home in Rafah, the southernmost city in the besieged Gaza Strip, on Saturday last week.

Her husband, Shukri, and their three-year-old daughter, Malak, were killed.

Sabreen, who was 30-weeks pregnant, was rushed to the Emirati hospital in Rafah.

She died of her wounds but doctors were able to save the baby, delivering her by Caesarean section.

However, the baby suffered respiratory problems and a weak immune system, said Dr Mohammad Salama, head of the emergency neo-natal unit at Emirati Hospital, who had been caring for Rouh.

She died on Thursday.

"I and other doctors tried to save her, but she died. For me personally, it was a very difficult and painful day," he told Reuters by phone.

"She was born while her respiratory system wasn't mature, and her immune system was very weak and that is what led to her death. She joined her family as a martyr," Salama said.

More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in the six-month-old war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, many of them women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Israel denies deliberately targeting civilians in its campaign to eradicate Hamas.

Much of Gaza has been laid to waste by Israeli bombardments and most of the enclave's hospitals have been badly damaged, while those still operating are short of electricity, medicine sterilisation equipment and other supplies.

"(Rouh's) grandmother urged me and the doctors to take care of her because she would be someone that would keep the memory of her mother, husband, and sister alive, but it was God's will that she died," Salama said. --Reuters

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