In the midst of the heart-wrenching Israel-Gaza conflict, a remarkable event unfolded that introduced us to Gaza’s wonder baby Makkah.
On a fateful Saturday —October 21 — Dareen, a 28-year-old woman in the late stages of her third pregnancy, was hanging laundry on her Rafah balcony in the southern Gaza Strip when an Israeli strike occurred.
The impact sent her plummeting from the third floor to a neighbour’s residence below. Her husband, Ayman Abu Shamalah, narrowly escaped the strike and rushed to find his wife on the floor. Incredibly, she was alive, despite the devastating fall.
Dareen’s last words to Ayman were a heart-wrenching plea: “Ayman, take Makkah out of my belly and take care of her,” as reported by AFP.
The explosion had disfigured her to the point that Ayman could only identify her by the clothing she wore. He implored the doctor at Abu Yousef Al Najjar hospital, where her body was taken, to save their baby, emphasising that it was Dareen’s final wish.
The medical team performed an emergency Caesarean section, and the newborn, Makkah, was swiftly taken to the pediatric unit at the Emirates Red Crescent Hospital in Rafah.
Ayman explained that his family had fled the bombardments in Gaza City to seek refuge with relatives in Rafah. Tragically, the building they were staying in was struck by Israeli forces, resulting in the loss of his wife and children, as well as four other relatives, including two children.
It was also the shared birthday of three-year-old Adam and his nine-year-old sister, Sham, when they, along with their mother, perished in an Israeli strike in southern Gaza. Their grief-stricken father shared that he had been on the stairs during the strike, narrowly escaping the tragic fate that befell his family.