It was a birth unlike any other. Israeli soldiers took the role of midwives as Shirin Muhammad Salamin, a 27-year-old Palestinian woman, gave birth inside an Israeli military ambulance overnight.

The drama started when Salamin, a resident of Jericho, called for medical assistance around 2 a.m. on Tuesday but ambulances could not reach her house – which is located on the top of a hill – because of a major thunderstorm. An IDF medical crew was called to the area, and her family carried her down to the main road to meet them.

The plan was to drive Salamin to hospital. But her baby had another idea.

“I was alone inside the army’s ambulance, my mother and the rest of my family didn’t come with me, and I was scared. But the soldiers reassured me throughout the ride. At one stage I literally felt the baby come out and the soldiers put a blanket and helped me give birth. When he came out, they smiled at me and him and asked me to talk to him in order to calm him down. They gave me the baby and let me breastfeed him,” Salamin recounted from her hospital bed in Jerusalem.

IDF sources said the baby had trouble breathing shortly after being born. Soldiers resuscitated him, and the baby and mother were flown via an Air Force helicopter to Hadassa Ein-Kerem hospital. Both are doing well.

Shirin said she is grateful for the care she was given. “I would like to thank the soldiers who greatly helped me and wish them health,” she said.

The soldiers were also touched by the experience.

Said Sergeant Gilad Nesher, a paramedic who treated the woman and child: “There is a great deal of satisfaction in giving life.”