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News > Palestine

Gaza: Mothers-To-Be Suffer Panic as Israeli Attacks Continue

  • A Palestinian family in Gaza, Oct. 2023.

    A Palestinian family in Gaza, Oct. 2023. | Photo: X/ @MiddleEastEye

Published 20 October 2023

There are about 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza who cannot obtain basic health services.

Heba Mushtaha, who was from Gaza City and was supposed to welcome her first child, lost her life a few days ago due to a difficult birth amid the ongoing Israeli airstrikes.


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"We escaped from our house in Gaza City and took shelter with our relatives, while at night, my wife started screaming and was about to give birth," said Ahmed Mushtaha, a 36-year-old husband who has been stunned by the sudden loss of his beloved wife.

"However, we were unable to transfer her to the hospital when there were Israeli bombings. The next morning, she died," the man grieved.

Many Palestinian pregnant women are suffering gravely in the besieged Gaza Strip amid the ongoing deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas. Hadeel Skeik gave birth to her baby long before the due date, after she was wounded by an Israeli airstrike targeting her neighborhood.

"I was scared of losing the baby as he still needed three weeks before coming to the world," the 29-year-old mother of two recalled, explaining "my baby is still in the hospital and I have to go there every day under the attacks to breastfeed him."

"I am really afraid of losing any of my kids, either the newborn or the one I have to leave inside the home for long hours a day," she said with tears on her face.

Once the newborn is discharged, however, the family has to relocate to Khan Younis city as Israeli attacks have wrecked their house in Gaza City.

On Monday, the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) revealed that there are about 50,000 pregnant women in the Gaza Strip who cannot obtain basic health services, among them, 5,500 will give birth in October.

"The turnout of pregnant women, especially from the displaced people from northern Gaza, is very large, and we are trying to provide services for those in the most serious condition," said Mohammed al-Raqab, a gynecologist at Nasser Governmental Hospital in Khan Yunis.

Even if the Gazan mothers-to-be are lucky enough to safely give birth to babies, they still have to face risks, panic and fear from Israeli attacks in the conflict-ravaged enclave.

The UNPF stressed that these women "need urgent health care and protection," urging all parties to "abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law."

As trucks loaded with humanitarian aid supplies awaited at the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing to enter Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday asked infantry soldiers along the border with Gaza to get prepared for entering the Palestinian enclave.

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