Wounded Palestinians arrive in Egypt; foreigners depart via Rafah crossing

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 Nov 2023

Scores of Palestinians injured in Israel's ongoing onslaught on the Gaza Strip arrived in Egypt on Wednesday while dual nationals left the strip through the Rafah border crossing under a deal on limited evacuation, according to media reports.

Ambulances
Ambulances with Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip arrive at Rafah border crossing to Egypt Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. AP

A Qatar-mediated deal, according to Reuters, 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.

However, there is no timeline for how long the crossing will remain open for evacuation, Reuters added, citing sources.

No statement was issued from Egypt on the agreement.

Several media reports suggest that around 80 wounded Palestinians accompanied by a family member would be allowed into Egypt through the crossing. 

Additionally, a first group of 400 foreign national holders who had been trapped in the strip since the beginning of the Israeli bombardment, left the strip and are waiting to enter Egypt.

Some of them are expected to arrive in Egypt today.

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.

As many as 40 Egyptian ambulances entered Gaza earlier today to transport the wounded Palestinians.

Nearly half of Gaza’s 32 hospitals are out of service because of damage from Israel's airstrikes and lack of fuel required to supply medical equipment.

The remaining hospitals are running short of fuel and functioning under immense pressure amid ongoing Israeli aggression.

Egyptian hospitals on alert 
 

The injured Palestinians are set to be treated at hospitals in Arish and Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai, while serious cases will be transported to Ismailia and Cairo, according to Al-Qahera News channel.

Previously, North Sinai Governor Mohamed Shosha said the governorate’s hospitals had been put on alert and that an additional field hospital was being set up in Sheikh Zuweid with 50 beds, 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.

Israeli onslaught 

Since 7 October, Israeli bombardment has killed 8,525 Palestinians, including 3,542 children, 2,187 women, and dozens of health personnel, rescue workers, and journalists, the Palestinian health ministry said on Tuesday.

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 has so far allowed only a trickle of desperately needed aid into the blockaded Palestinian territory.

More than 100 trucks of aid are needed per day to cover urgent needs.

Tens of trucks have been stalled on the Egyptian side of the crossing waiting to enter Gaza.

Al-Qahera News Channel reported that 40 aid trucks carrying humanitarian aid were unloaded at the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing earlier today.

About 50 other trucks will be dispatched later, it added.

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