Injured Palestinians admitted to Egyptian hospitals after checks at Rafah

The Rafah border crossing will remain open on Thursday for the arrival of foreign nationals who have been given approval to leave the Gaza strip.

Egyptian ambulances drive through the Rafah crossing from the Egyptian side. Reuters
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The first of the 81 wounded Gazans cleared for entry into Egypt on Wednesday were admitted to hospitals in North Sinai province, an Egyptian Red Crescent officer told The National.

Those civilians allowed into Egypt are only a fraction of the 2.3 million Palestinians stuck inside the besieged city under continuous Israeli bombardment.

A convoy of 40 ambulances carrying Palestinians wounded in Gaza entered North Sinai through the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday following Egypt's announcement that it would allow a limited number of cases to be treated at hospitals in the province.

Three Palestinian patients and their four companions, who arrived in three of the ambulances, were taken to hospitals in the cities of Al Arish and Bir Al Abd after passing through procedural checks on the Egyptian side of the crossing, the Red Crescent official said.

They were followed by another 13 other patients, with a total of 11 sent to Al Arish Hospital and five to Bir Al Abd Hospital so far, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry

The rest of the ambulances remained at the Rafah border crossing where first aid services were being provided to patients until procedural checks are complete and they can be taken to hospitals.

Egyptian officials said that 110 wounded Palestinians who have been vetted for security would enter from Gaza on Wednesday, as well 121 of the hundreds of foreign citizens trapped in the Palestinian enclave, including Palestinians with dual nationality, since Israel imposed a total siege and began bombarding it on October 7.

Wounded Palestinians sent into Egypt were allowed to be accompanied by a family member or friend, a medical officer stationed at Rafah told The National.

"Most of those who accompanied the wounded were children. I think the Palestinian side intended to do this to ensure that as many children as possible could escape the Israeli strikes," the officer said.

Until Wednesday the crossing was used only to send convoys of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The first batch of foreign passport holders allowed to leave on Wednesday included a number of Americans, according to US news outlets.

The Gaza border authority released on its Facebook page a list of the dual citizens who had been cleared for entry to Egypt. In addition the US citizens, it also included a number of Australians.

The border authority said late on Wednesday that it had been told by the Egyptian side that the Rafah crossing would remain open on Thursday to allow for the rest of the dual citizens included on the list to enter Egypt.

However, a number of foreign nationalities were not let through, according to Mazen Danaf, a Palestinian-German journalist trying to leave Gaza.

Danaf said he received a notice from the German embassy to head to the Rafah border crossing but upon arrival was told that no Germans had been cleared for evacuation.

“It’s not just Germans, a number of other nationalities were also not included on the list of evacuees,” he told The National.

“There are UNRWA officials being allowed out but many foreign nationalities are not.”

Aid enters Rafah crossing to Gaza

Aid enters Rafah crossing to Gaza

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the country had teams on standby to help British citizens allowed through the Rafah crossing.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Cleverly said: “UK teams are ready to assist British nationals as soon as they are able to leave.

“It’s vital that lifesaving humanitarian aid can enter Gaza as quickly as possible.”

With additional reporting by Mina Al Droubi

Updated: November 01, 2023, 5:59 PM