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Baby saved from dying mother's womb after Israeli airstrike on Gaza city of Rafah named in her honor

Israel strikes Rafah, operates in West Bank
Israel strikes Rafah, conducts operation in West Bank 02:35

A newborn baby who was still in the womb when her mother was killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza's southern city of Rafah was doing well Monday after being moved to a new hospital in the war-torn Palestinian enclave. The baby's mother Sabreen, along with her father Shoukri and her three-year-old sister Malak, were all killed in the strike. The baby was named Sabreen Erooh by her aunt, which means "soul of Sabreen," after her mother.

"We tried to rescue the patient," Dr. Ahmad Fawzi, a doctor at a nearby hospital, told British broadcaster Sky News. "We realized that she was pregnant. We had to do an emergency cesarean to save the baby. Thanks to God, we managed to save the baby."

Without a name at the time, the infant initially had a label put on her tiny arm that said: "The baby of the martyr Sabreen al Sakani."

A Palestinian doctor tends to a baby born prematurely after her mother was fatally wounded by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah, April 20, 2024. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty

Her uncle has said he will care for her from now on, Sky News reported.

Two Israeli strikes Saturday on Rafah killed at least 22 people, mostly children, The Associated Press news agency said, citing officials at the nearby Kuwaiti Hospital, which received the wounded. The first strike killed the baby's family. The second killed 17 children and a woman, the AP reported.

"These children were sleeping. What did they do? What was their fault?" a relative of the family, Umm Kareem, said. "Pregnant women at home, sleeping children, the husband's aunt is 80 years old. What did this woman do? Did she fire missiles? We complain about our concerns to God."

The baby was moved from the Kuwaiti Hospital to the Emirati Hospital for continued care.

Over half of Gaza's estimated 2.3 million people have sought refuge in Rafah from the fighting raging elsewhere in the Gaza Strip. Israel has carried out near-daily air raids on the area and vowed to expand its ground offensive there to go after Hamas combat units that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says are still holed up in the city.

"In the coming days, we will increase the political and military pressure on Hamas because this is the only way to bring back our hostages and achieve victory," Netanyahu said in a statement on Sunday. "We will land more and painful blows on Hamas soon."

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