UPDATE 2: Ambulances carrying wounded Palestinians arrive in Egypt for treatment; first group of foreigners departing via Rafah crossing

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 Nov 2023

A group of 40 Egyptian ambulances carrying Palestinians injured in Israel's ongoing onslaught on the Gaza Strip reached the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing, according to media reports.

A journalist stands by as Palestinian health ministry ambulances cross the gate to enter the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip before crossing into Egypt on November 1, 2023. AFP


Earlier today, the Egyptian ambulances entered Gaza to transport the wounded Palestinians for treatment in Egypt as part of a deal that also allows for the movement of foreigners out of the besieged strip.

According to Reuters, a Qatar-mediated deal was reached between Egypt, Hamas, and Israel to allow for the movement of foreign passport holders and some critically injured people out of besieged Gaza.

Indeed, the first group of dual nationals trapped in Gaza was allowed to leave through the crossing. 

Procedures for foreigners’ deportation are currently being finalized at the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing.

Video footage released by Egyptian Extra News and Al-Qahera News channels showed dozens of people leaving the crossing for Egypt and several ambulances were seen entering and leaving the Egyptian crossing.

Al-Jazeera TV channel reported that 80 wounded Palestinians and 400 foreign national holders would be transported via the crossing.

Meanwhile, 40 aid trucks carrying humanitarian aid were unloaded at the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, Al-Qahera News Channel reported, adding that 50 other trucks will be dispatched later.

Hospitals on alert 

Nearly 150 ambulances were ready to transport patients, according to previous statements by the governorate’s health officials.

Previously, North Sinai Governor Mohamed Shosha said the governorate’s hospitals had been put on alert to receive injured Palestinians as soon as the crossing opens.

Governor Shosha also stated that a field hospital with 50 beds was being set up in Sheikh Zuweid City, west of Rafah, raising the total capacity of hospitals in North Sinai to 350.

Three locations have been assigned to host those accompanying the injured in Sheikh Zuweid and Arish in North Sinai, the officials added.

During previous Israeli wars against Gaza, Egypt treated injured Palestinians at hospitals in Ismailia and Cairo.

Fifteen hospitals in Gaza went out of service, along with 32 healthcare centres, due to Israeli deadly bombardments, as well as a lack of fuel delivered to the area. 

Israel onslaught 

Since 7 October, Israel has imposed a complete blockade on the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, cutting off all access to food, water, power, and fuel supplies, despite global warnings of a developing humanitarian catastrophe.

Israel airstrikes killed 8,525, including 3,542 children, 2,187 women, and dozens of health personnel, rescue workers, and journalists, the Palestinian health ministry said on Tuesday.

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