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Gaza Doctors Save Baby From Her Dead Mother’s Womb

Doctors in Gaza have performed an emergency Caesarian section on a young Palestinian woman killed in an Israeli shelling attack on Friday, saving her unborn baby.

Agence France-Presse reports 23-year-old Shayma al-Sheikh Qanan was eight months pregnant when shells fired from an Israeli tank blasted her family’s home in the central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah to rubble early Friday morning.

Qanan was trapped in the rubble and critically injured. Her husband, a local journalist, was also reportedly killed, as were the couple’s other children.

After being stuck in the ruins of her home for more than an hour, paramedics arrived on the scene and dug her out.

“We tried to revive her but she had died on the way to the hospital,” Dr. Fadi al-Kharti of Deir al-Balah Hospital told AFP.

“Then we noticed movement in her stomach and estimated she was about 36 weeks pregnant,” said al-Kharti.

Surgeons then performed the emergency C-section and successfully delivered a baby girl, who they named after her late mother.

Gaza's "miracle baby" Shayma al-Sheikh Qanan. (AFP screen grab)

Gaza’s “miracle baby” Shayma. (AFP screen grab)

The slain woman’s mother, 43-year-old Mirfat Qanan, is simultaneously mourning the loss of her daughter and celebrating the birth of her granddaughter.

“God has protected this child for me,” Qanan told AFP. “My daughter Shayma is dead, but now I have a new daughter. She’ll call me ‘mummy’ just like her mother did.”

But baby Shayma isn’t out of the woods yet.

“The child is in serious condition, and needs to be constantly hooked up to a breathing machine since she was oxygen deprived between her mother’s death and her birth,” said Adbel Karim al-Bawab, head doctor at the maternity ward in the Khan Younis hospital where the baby has been transferred.

On Tuesday, Israeli forces continued their three-week-old war against Hamas and other Palestinian resistance fighters based in Gaza who have launched thousands of rockets and mortar shells indiscriminately into Israel, killing two Israelis and a Thai farmer. Fifty-three Israeli troops have also been killed in combat.

While the Israeli civilian death toll has been extremely low, thanks, in part, to the vaunted Iron Dome missile defense system, more than 1,200 Palestinians have been killed and more than 6,500 other wounded as of Tuesday, the vast majority of them innocent civilians.

Palestine’s Maan News Agency reports 13 members of the al-Agha family, including at least four children, were killed in Israeli strikes on their three houses in Khan Younis.

The Gaza Health Ministry has released the names of 52 families in which between two and 26 members have been killed by Israeli attacks.

Gaza-based resistance fighters continued to fire rockets into Israel on Tuesday, with one being intercepted by Iron Dome over Holon.

The Israeli cabinet unanimously rejected a ceasefire proposal presented by US Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend, arguing it would allow Hamas to keep the very rockets it is launching against the Jewish state.

Kerry has been excoriated in the Israeli media and among many Israeli leaders. A headline in the Times of Israel accused Kerry of “completely capitulating” to Hamas, while Barak Ravid of the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz called Kerry “pathetic.”

Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice addressed the National Jewish Leaders Assembly in Washington, DC on Tuesday and defended Kerry as well as Israel’s actions in Gaza. Rice voiced no criticism of Israel’s killing of hundreds of innocent civilians, but she did mention the “sirens and shelters” that have frightened and inconvenienced Israelis dealing with the constant threat of Hamas rockets.

Rice placed the blame for the war squarely on Hamas.

“Hamas initiated this conflict,” asserted Rice, saying nothing about Israel’s nearly half-century occupation of Palestine, which is illegal under international law.

Rice reaffirmed America’s unwavering commitment to Israel.

“Here’s one thing you never have to worry about: America’s support for the State of Israel,” she said. “As President Obama declared before the Israeli people in Jerusalem, ‘So long as there is a United States of America… you are not alone.'”

The US commitment to Israel was on full display in Geneva last week, where the United Nations Human Rights Council voted 29-1 to launch an investigation of possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza. The council cited Israel’s “disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks,” including strikes on homes, schools, hospitals, mosques and Gaza’s only power plant. The United States cast the lone dissenting vote.

“We will stand up for Israel, even if it means standing alone,” said US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf following the UN vote.

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