Orphaned before her birth: Baby girl born in Gaza one hour after mother’s death

Shaymaa al-Sheikh 'Ali at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. Picture: AP Photo/Eyad Baba

A baby girl was born in Gaza by emergency caesarean - just one hour after her mother was killed during an airstrike.

23-year-old Shaymaa al-Sheikh ‘Ali was eight months pregnant when she died during an airstike. An Israeli tank shell reduced her home in the central Gaza strip town of Deir al-Balah to rubble.

Her husband,  Ibrahim Sheikh Ali, was wounded when two floors of the family's home were destroyed following the airstrike

Shaymaa died en route to hospital, where doctors realised her unborn child still had a heartbeat.

"The pregnant mother was brought here and when we checked the foetus it was alive, so the doctors did fast surgery and brought the baby out breathing," said one doctor.

The four-day-old girl, who has also been named Shaymaa, is expected to remain in hospital for up to five weeks. She is in a stable condition after suffering a shortage of oxygen. She is now breathing through an oxygen mask.

"She is in a serious condition. She is alive using the machines and we hope she will be better so she can be moved to her grandmother.”

The baby's maternal grandmother, 43-year-old Mirfat Qanan, is thankful for this miracle amid such tragedy.

"God has protected this child for me. My daughter Shaymaa is dead, but I now have a new daughter. She'll call me 'mummy' just like her mother did."

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