First group of injured Palestinians arrive in Tunisia for medical treatment

A second group of 150 patients is expected to arrive on Tuesday

Tunisian medics transfer an injured Palestinian man evacuated from the Gaza Strip, upon their arrival at Tunis-Carthage International Airport, Tunisia, December 3 2023. EPA
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Twenty-nine injured Palestinians from Gaza arrived in Tunis on a military aircraft late on Sunday night to receive crucial treatment in Tunisian public and private hospitals, Brig Gen Al Makki Ben Salah said.

The group was accompanied by a military and civilian medical crew, and representatives of the Tunisian Red Crescent.

The flight, which took off from Egypt’s Al Arish airport earlier this afternoon, was carrying 20 patients with relatively serious injuries.

The Palestinians were suffering from fractures, injuries caused by shrapnel and severe burns, Dr Ridha Dhaoui, head of the Tunisian National Doctors’ Bar, told local news outlets on Sunday night.

Dr Dhaoui said those who arrived were children aged between one and 13 years old, and young adults between 19 and 21.

They were accompanied by 21 of their guardians or relatives.

The wounded Gazans are expected to receive care in specialised centres including Tunisia’s top military hospital in the capital Tunis.

The Tunisian Ministry of Health and the Tunisian Red Crescent have set up a field hospital in the Ben Arous governorate south of Tunis specifically for Palestinian patients.

The Tunisian government said the hospital would be receiving Gazans for treatment as soon as they were able to cross through the Rafah border with Egypt.

Ben Arous Governor Ezzedine Chalbi told the Tap news agency that the field hospital, which has been set up inside Yasminet public hospital, has been equipped with 120 beds, including 30 in the intensive care unit.

It has special health care staff including surgeons who are ready to perform all necessary procedures.

Mr Chalbi said that other healthcare centres in the region have been instructed to remain on standby to receive more injured Gazan patients.

In a visit to the field hospital last month, Tunisian Minister of Health, Ali Mrabet, said that medical and paramedical staff expressed their desire “to extend a helping hand to their Palestinian brothers and sisters”.

Mr Mrabet said public hospitals are ready to shelter and treat the injured Gazans “on an equal footing with any Tunisian citizen".

A second flight carrying 150 wounded Palestinians will be arriving in Tunisia next Tuesday.

Updated: December 03, 2023, 9:42 PM