The relentless and merciless pounding of the Gaza Strip by Israel has left the Palestinians little cause for celebration and jubilation, yet the birth of baby girl of a mother who had been killed by Israeli shelling can be seen as a symbol of hope and resistance.
The premature baby girl survived the Israeli onslaught after she was born in an emergency Caesarean operation after her mother was killed in an Israeli airstrike.
The 23-year old mother, Shayma al-Sheikh Qanan, was eight months pregnant when an Israeli tank shell hit her home in the central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah, reducing it to rubble.
“Her body was brought in after an Israeli shelling at 3am on Friday. We tried to revive her but she had died on the way,” said Fadi al-Kharti, a doctor at Deir al-Balah hospital.
He added that Qanan had been stuck under the rubble of her home for an hour before paramedics managed to dig her out.
“Then we noticed movement in her stomach, and estimated she was about 36 weeks pregnant,” Kharti said.
For 43-year-old Mirfat Qanan, it was a tragedy to lose her daughter, but there was joy at becoming a grandmother.
“God has protected this child for me. My daughter Shayma is dead, but I now have a new daughter,” she said. “She’ll call me ‘mummy’ just like her mother did.”
Though the girl, named Shayma after her mother, defied the Israeli strikes on her home, she still faces the challenges of Israeli fire on hospitals as not even medical facilities are safe from the regime’s assaults.
Shayma weighed five pounds and was said to be in a stable condition in Al Aqsa hospital, which has already been targeted by Israel. The four-day girl is currently breathing through an oxygen mask in the hospital’s maternity ward.
Head doctor at the maternity ward Abdel Karim al-Bawab said staff were closely monitoring the baby to check her condition and added that she must stay in this state for at least three more weeks.
The Israeli regime is continuing its relentless aerial and ground attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip for the 22nd consecutive day, causing more deaths and destruction.
Palestinian Health Ministry sources say the ongoing Israeli air and ground strikes have left more than 250 children dead across the besieged Gaza Strip over the past three weeks.
The Palestinian death toll from three weeks of Israeli strikes has neared 1,200 while over 6,700 others have been injured in the onslaught.