Skip to main content

War on Gaza: Baby saved from dying mother's womb killed by Israeli strike on Rafah

Hani Mahmoud Qishta was born by caesarean when a bomb critically wounded his mother. He was just six months old when a bomb hit his grandparents' home, killing him and several relatives
A woman mourns as she carries the shrouded body of Hani Mahmoud Qishta, killed following overnight Israeli strikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 6 May 2024 (AFP)
A woman mourns as she carries the shrouded body of Hani Mahmoud Qishta, killed following overnight Israeli strikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 6 May 2024 (AFP)
By Ahmed Aziz in Gaza, occupied Palestine

“He was born in war and he died in war,” said Hani Mahmoud Qishta's cousin, cradling the corpse of the six-month-old in her arms. 

Hani was born on 23 October, the same day that both his parents’ lives were ended by Israeli bombs. 

His father, who Hani takes his name from, was instantly killed by the Israeli air strike. 

Hani’s mother, eight months pregnant at the time, was severely wounded in the attack and rushed to a hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza. 

“They did a caesarean section and Hani was born well. The mother died hours later,” his relative, who did not give her name, told Middle East Eye. “His grandparents took care of him after.”

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


“But last night a Zionist air strike killed him, his two sisters, grandfather, grandmother and other family members,” she added. 

At around 11pm on Sunday, the home of Hani’s grandfather in the al-Salam neighbourhood of Rafah was targeted by an Israeli air strike. 

Several members of the Qishta family had been sheltering there.  

“Hani was just a baby who didn't see much of life… He looked exactly like [his] father and mother,” the relative said. 

“There is also Layan Fadi Qishta, another child from the family who was killed. And Hani's two grandparents. And there was Shafi Qishta, who got married just over seven months ago in September. He was killed with his wife.”

'We are tired'

Nine members of the Qishta family were killed in total, including four children. 

“They didn't get to live their childhoods and marriage to the fullest. What is their crime?” asked Hani's cousin.

“It's enough. We are tired.”

Just days ago, another baby died in Gaza having been rescued from her dying mother's womb following an Israeli air strike. 

Sabreen al-Sakani was delivered by Caesarean section in Rafah on 21 April, after her mother was killed by Israeli bombardment. Sabreen, who weighed just 1.4kg when she was born, died four days later and was buried next to her mother. 

Israel’s military pounded Rafah overnight and on Monday morning, killing at least 22 Palestinians in 11 homes across the city. 

It coincided with Israeli forces dropping flyers ordering displaced Palestinians to leave eastern areas of Rafah near the boundary fence separating Gaza and Israel. 

The flyers said the military was “about to operate with force against the terror organisations in the area”. 

The forced ejection comes ahead of a planned Israeli ground invasion of Rafah, where more than one million Palestinians are sheltering in tents and makeshift homes. 

Israeli forces have killed at least 34,600 Palestinians since the war on Gaza began in October, the majority of them women and children, while a siege on the coastal enclave has left it on the brink of famine. 

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.