Baby born in Gaza dies after mother killed

A baby delivered by emergency caesarean died Thursday after the mother was killed in an Israeli strike, a relative said, as news of her birth brought hope to war-torn Gaza less than a week later.

The baby, born after a strike in southern Gaza that also killed her father and sister, suffered respiratory problems and doctors were unable to save her, her uncle Rami al-Sheikh said.

“I buried her in her father's grave,” he said in a phone interview Friday.

Mother Sabreen al-Saghani, along with her husband Shukri and their 3-year-old daughter Malak, were killed in an Israeli strike on their home in the town of Rafah shortly before midnight last Saturday. Rescuers took the bodies to the Emirati Hospital in Rafah, where doctors performed a caesarean section on Ms Al-Saghani, who was 30 weeks pregnant.

Her uncle said Malak wanted to name her little sister Rooh, the Arabic word for soul. After her birth, the family decided to name her after her mother Sabreen.

Sabreen was premature and weighed just three pounds at birth, said Dr Mohammed Salama, head of the neonatal intensive care unit at Emirati Hospital. Her birth was captured on video by a journalist from the Reuters news agency, who filmed doctors taking artificial respiration from her mother, pale and limp.

Instead of a name, doctors initially wrote, “Child of Martyr Sabreen al-Saghani” on a tape across his chest.

“The baby was delivered in a tragic situation,” Dr. Salama told Reuters after her birth, “although this baby survived, she was born an orphan.”

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