A vessel carrying equipment for field hospitals that left western Türkiye last week arrived in Egypt’s al-Arish port on Monday. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said they would provide health care services to the people of Gaza in coordination with Egypt.
It is the first such aid vessel to arrive in Egypt since the new stage of the Palestine-Israel conflict broke out on Oct. 7.
A Turkish health official told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the vessel was carrying “materials, generators, ambulances to establish eight field hospitals.”
The Turkish official added that Ankara had requested Cairo’s approval to build the field hospitals in al-Arish, which lies about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Rafah border, the only crossing to Gaza not controlled by Israel.
“We received the green light from Egyptian authorities. We will set up these hospitals in the areas shown by the Egyptian authorities,” the official said.
The delivery comes as Hamas government officials said all hospitals in northern Gaza were “out of service” amid fuel shortages as a result of fighting with Israeli forces. The Hamas government’s deputy health minister, Youssef Abu Rish, said the death toll inside Al-Shifa Hospital has risen to 27 adult intensive care patients and seven babies since the weekend as the facility suffered fuel shortages.
Nearly 500 tons of aid equipment, including medicine, medical devices, eight field hospitals, 20 ambulances and medical consumables, will be delivered to the Gaza Strip through Egypt, Koca announced last Thursday. Already hit by a 16-year Israeli blockade, since the start of the current conflict over a month ago, Gaza has been cut off from water, electricity and fuel supplies, with many hospitals having to shut down as a result. This makes aid deliveries from countries like Türkiye a critical lifeline to Gaza, which has been under relentless bombing campaign by Israel since Oct. 7, in the wake of an unprecedented incursion by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Israel.
Türkiye already sent eight planeloads of medicine, medical consumables, devices and generators to Gaza via coordination with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. Türkiye discussed increasing the daily number of aid trucks to at least 500 for Gaza with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Ankara, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week.
Koca also said the patients of the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital would be transferred through the Rafah crossing to the Al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid Hospitals in Egypt. Koca and his Egyptian counterpart will visit the Palestinian children with cancer there.
Koca assured last Friday that Turkish medical teams and their Egyptian colleagues would work to treat the Gazan patients. The second phase of the plan includes bringing both cancer patients and others in need of emergency help to Türkiye.
“As a result of diplomacy efforts for patient transfers through Rafah, Turkish, Egyptian and Israeli health ministers have formed contact and set up a health coordination team,” Koca informed.
Additionally, Turkish nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and relief institutions have sent food parcels, blankets, hot meals, hygiene kits, diapers, clothes, medical supplies and fuel support, while Turkish citizens collected funds and similar materials for Gazans.
More than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in brutal Israeli strikes, including 4,412 children and 2,918 women. The Israeli death toll is nearly 1,600, according to official figures.
Since Oct. 7, Ankara has been vocal in its support of Gaza as Erdoğan slammed Western countries for “watching the massacre from afar,” urging them to put pressure on Israel to cease its attacks and human rights violations in the blockaded city. He has spoken with 27 world leaders, including U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, as well as other region’s prime ministers and presidents in the past month.
Unlike Western countries, Türkiye doesn’t consider Hamas a terrorist organization and argues the issue isn’t limited to the resistance group, citing over seven decades of “Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
“For a full 22 days, Israel has been overtly committing war crimes. We are working on it and will introduce Israel as a war criminal to the world,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 28. Subsequently, he announced Türkiye would take Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Source: Daily Sabah
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