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Tragedy in Gaza: Newborn Loses Battle for Life After Mother’s Death in Airstrike




RAFAH, GAZA STRIP - In a tragic turn of events, a newborn baby girl, delivered from her dying mother’s womb following an Israeli airstrike, has died after just a few days of life, according to the doctor who had been caring for her.


The baby, named Sabreen al-Rouh, which translates to “soul” in Arabic, was born under dire circumstances. Her mother, Sabreen al-Sakani (al-Sheikh), was seriously injured when an Israeli strike hit their family home in Rafah, the southernmost city in the besieged Gaza Strip. The attack claimed the lives of her husband, Shukri, and their three-year-old daughter, Malak.

Despite being 30 weeks pregnant and critically wounded, Sabreen al-Rouh was rushed to the Emirati hospital in Rafah. Although she succumbed to her injuries, doctors managed to save the baby, delivering her by Caesarean section.


However, the newborn’s life was fraught with complications. “She was born while her respiratory system wasn’t mature, and her immune system was very weak,” said Dr. Muhammad Salman, head of the emergency non-natal unit at Emirati Hospital, who had been caring for Sabreen al-Rouh. “That is what led to her death.”


The infant’s death on Thursday added another layer of tragedy to the family’s story. Her tiny body was laid to rest in a sandy graveyard in Rafah. “For me personally, it was a very difficult and painful day,” Dr. Salman told Reuters by phone. “She joined her family as a martyr.”

The ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas militants has claimed the lives of more than 34,000 Palestinians, many of them women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel denies deliberately targeting civilians in its campaign to eradicate Hamas.


The war has left much of Gaza in ruins, with most of the enclave’s hospitals badly damaged. Those still operating are grappling with shortages of electricity, medicine sterilization equipment, and other supplies.


Sabreen al-Rouh’s grandmother had urged the doctors to take care of the baby, hoping she would keep the memory of her mother, father, and sister alive. However, it was not to be. “It was God’s will that she died,” Dr. Salman said.


The infant’s uncle, Rami al-Sheikh Jouda, mourned the loss of the infant and the rest of the family as he sat by her grave on Friday. “Rouh is gone, my brother, his wife, and daughter are gone, his brother-in-law and the house that used to bring us together are gone,” he told Reuters. “We are left with no memories of my brother, his daughter, or his wife. Everything was gone, even their pictures, their mobile phones, we couldn’t find them.”

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