November 19, 2023 | Flash Brief

Shifa Neonatal Unit Evacuated, Egypt to Take Patients

November 19, 2023 | Flash Brief

Shifa Neonatal Unit Evacuated, Egypt to Take Patients

Latest Developments

The most vulnerable ward of Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital was evacuated on November 19, as Israeli forces deepened searches for Hamas terrorist assets at the site. Al-Shifa administrators previously said that dozens of premature babies were at risk due to the hospital’s dwindling energy supplies. Yet the hospital cold-shouldered an Israeli offer to transport three incubators to assist in the babies’ evacuation.

But in a turnaround, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that it had moved 31 premature babies in Palestinian ambulances from Al-Shifa to a hospital in the southern town of Rafah, from which they would be transported over the nearby border into Egypt. Last week, Egyptian Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said his country has ambulances waiting at the Rafah crossing to take the babies to neonatal units in Sinai, the Suez Canal area, or Cairo as required.

Remaining at Al-Shifa are 291 patients and 25 staff, the WHO said.

Expert Analysis

“For all the apocalyptic warnings about the collapse of Shifa, its humanitarian evacuations eventually proceeded. Egypt is to be commended for taking in the newborns and, presumably, their families as well. One hopes that this will presage even greater Egyptian cooperation with Israel and world powers to ease the Gaza crisis caused by Hamas.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The enduring partnership between Egypt and Israel has yielded substantial mutual benefits for both nations. Israel has played a pivotal role in combating the Islamic State in the northern Sinai. Meanwhile, Egypt has consistently demonstrated its significance as a vital mediator during periods of conflict in the Gaza Strip. The remarkable collaboration between these allies extends to addressing healthcare challenges, as Egypt is now admitting patients from Gaza.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Residents of Hamas Stronghold In Southern Gaza Urged to Evacuate,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Uses Gaza Hospital as Headquarters,” FDD Flash Brief

10 Things to Know About Hamas and Hospitals,” FDD Insight


Arab Politics Egypt Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics