A Palestinian boy is stretchered off a plane to Abu Dhabi. He was one of the first wounded in the war between Israel and Hamas to be evacuated from the Gaza Strip to the United Arab Emirates to receive emergency medical treatment, as part of a humanitarian mission organized by the country.
He arrived in the middle of the night at the Egyptian airport of Al-Arich, near the Rafah border crossing, the only opening into the Gaza Strip which is not in the hands of Israel.
Along with eight other injured children, the boy waits in the back of one of six yellow ambulances parked near the airstrip, blue lights flashing. Some are accompanied by their families.
One of them has a fractured spine, another has a broken leg. Some suffer burns and another needs emergency treatment for cancer. A platform lifts the stretchers, installs them at the rear of the plane then it’s takeoff, on the way to Abu Dhabi, the Emirati capital.
1,000 children will be flown to the United Arab Emirates
This is the first group of Palestinian children injured in Gaza to be evacuated to the Emirates since the start of the deadly war between Israel and Hamas, triggered after an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement on October 7 from the Gaza Strip. on Israeli soil.
This attack left 1,200 dead on the Israeli side, the majority of them civilians killed the same day, according to the Israeli authorities. In retaliation, Israel, which has sworn to “annihilate” Hamas, is constantly shelling the Gaza Strip. According to the Hamas government, 12,000 Palestinians were killed in Israeli bombings, including 5,000 children, and 30,000 people were injured.
Arriving early on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, this group was transported to Emirati hospitals for treatment. A total of 1,000 children will be flown to the Gulf country to receive medical aid. Two other seriously injured children, who were unable to board with the first group, are expected to reach the Emirati capital on a future flight.
“Time is running out and we are losing lives”
“We would like to carry out daily evacuations because there are injured people, hospitals out of service and a shortage of medicines” in Gaza, said Mohammed Al Kaabi, of the Emirates Red Crescent, describing the situation in the Palestinian territory as ” catastrophic”. He hopes that over the next week, “we will have evacuated everyone we can because time is running out and we are losing lives,” he told AFP.
Upon arrival on the tarmac of Abu Dhabi airport, a boy with a bandaged leg and a tired face makes the “victory” sign before being transported into a white ambulance which is waiting for him. Another, aged three, with a bottle of milk in his hand and whose leg is also bandaged, cries as he is pushed into a wheelchair.
The United Arab Emirates, which normalized relations with Israel in 2020, sent 51 planes carrying 1,400 tons of food and relief materials as part of a $20 million aid package, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defense. Foreign Affairs. Gaza’s hospitals, already poorly equipped due to an Israeli blockade since Hamas took power in the territory in 2007, lack basic supplies and are unable to cope with the sheer number of war-wounded people. .
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